The 8 year old boy and his freedom
Two nights ago, I had a dream. Most dreams are just dreams – but some dreams are more like visions – or something critical the Divine has to speak to a mortal. In the dream, I was watching my 8 year old self. I looked exactly how I looked when I was 8. Chubby, playing outside all the time, and observant. We were in our old Marengo apartment – the most dangerous neighborhood in Pasadena at the time. It is where Painter street ends at Marengo – if you are from Pasadena, enough said. There is a porch that we shared with the neighbor – our apartments were separated by one wall. The front yard was so tiny, but back then it was our very own baseball field, full of holes or plants that we used for bases. Across the street was a crackhouse, and to the right of us was an abandoned parking lot with a backhouse that was set on fire while we lived next door.
My 8 year old self recognized me in the dream and knew very well who I was – but his actions were not influenced one bit by the fact that his 27 year old self was watching him. There were a bunch of adults around him and he was the only child in the dream. During the dream, my 8 year old self did whatever he wanted. He climbed the big tree in my front yard. He laughed and played. He jumped on top of the roof and jumped to the ground. The entire time I was begging him to be careful. I kept screaming “Rajeev, please be careful. Why are you doing this?” He kept smiling at me and continued to risk. He would jump from one rooftop to the other. I pleaded with the adults to take care of him. I kept asking everyone if they were watching the child. They kept telling me that he does what he wants, and that he will be fine. It seemed like they did not care if the child lived or died. I thought it was my responsibility to watch out for the child – afterall, he was me. I kept following him around to make sure he didn’t get hurt. I tried to cushion his fall when he would jump from the tree to the porch, but my presence was absolutely irrelevant. He did whatever he wanted. Wherever he chose to roam was where he knew he wanted to be. There was nothing that anyone could say or do to inhibit him. I looked for my mother in the dream – at least she would understand and tell him to stop. She wasn’t there even though she was still alive at that time.
Nearly 20 years later, I want nothing more than to be my 8 year old self again (ILY – you will know what this means soon enough – it’s too soon for the world to know everything). I want nothing more than to jump from tree to roof, from roof to porch, and then from house to street – all in a powerful, yet simple stride. They tell you to put off childish ways when you get older, but all I ever wanted was the faith of a child. All I ever needed was the reassurance that wherever my feet may roam, is where God would roam with me. If I believe that God and His Spirit reside in me, then the roaming of my feet does not dictate whether or not He will join me. By virtue of His character and His promise, He remains wherever I choose to go.
In my dream, I was begging for supervision. I was worried. I was anxious. I was scared. I was bothered that no one would tell me what to do. I realize that this is exactly how things should be. No human supervision can ever ensure your safety. No human guidance can determine the course of a man or woman – especially those who are endangered. Those who are older cannot contain the fiery Spirit of the chosen. They can watch, but they cannot intervene.
As I press on and forget the past, I choose to bring with me my “childish ways.” I choose to go as my feet will lead, trusting myself because of He that is in me – not because of childish confidence. I choose to jump. I choose to smile at my own conservatism. I choose to reassuringly watch myself in the mirror, to concur that everything will be fine. I choose to entertain the adults around me, since they cannot intervene. I choose to work the impossible, even though I physically cannot do much. I choose for my inner Being to catapult to the forefront, even though it means that my mental, emotional, and physical state may take a turn for the worse. I choose life. But I first choose whatever death comes first. Peace, and much love to you – Jeevo (the new one).