I had a dream this morning- a dream that was likely brought on because of a discussion last night about someone very dear to me bent on following a road to apparent self-destruction. In this dream, our protagonist had all the traditional 'reasons to live'- friends trying to help her, support her, and prop her up; a reason to live beyond herself in the form of a baby still in the womb; and a hero ready to give his life for her. Throughout the dream, she-and they- faced the menace of a terrible tiger, always stalking them. The tiger, though, wasn't the Destroyer that everyone imagined. The destroyer was inside her, the "black hole" that constantly told her only death was an escape from the pain of life.
Much of the dream she wasn't activily trying to kill herself; she just constantly put herself in a position for the tiger to finish her off. It was a constant cycle of her drifting towards destruction, the support group or the hero saving her fom the tiger with no effort (or appreciation) on her part, and her re-drifting into danger.
Finally, the baby's birth became there and real. The friend-group sought her desperately, but in vain. And the hero was finally killed trying to hold off the tiger. And none of it meant anything to her, and she tried to end it all by flinging herself down a steep slope. The friends who cared, the hero's sacrifice, the baby crying for life, none of it meant anything.
But then, as she hung from the cliff, she realized at last she wanted to live. Not for the friends, the hero, the baby, but at last for herself. She finally did the things that allowed her support group to help her. She had saved herself, but not before all the destruction her choices had caused. And the tiger? He stood by and watched her rescue.
The dream reminded me that some people- myself once included- have this black hole generator inside them. You can fill their hole with your whole life and being and never fill it up. Because it is not a physical hole. And every excuse a person gives you for its existance, though real to them, is an illusion. The truth is, there is only one way to get rid of the hole. And that is you, yourself, must turn it off. You cannot turn it off with mothers, lovers, or babies. A person has to see the hole for what it is- a desire to death- look it in the face, and say, "No. This is garbage, and I reject it." This isn't a moment, it is a process. It involves re-learning your whole outlook, and many people are unwilling to try until they look death in the face and see their own reflection. Some don't even then. And the only thing that the hero, the Baby, the support group does, is prevent them from getting to that moment sooner. They can give all the reasons to live they want and it will always, as Thomas Aquinas said, "seem as straw to me." The hole doesn't start going away until you say, "I - I have a reason to live. A reason inside of me, that's just mine."
In the dream, the battle wasn't won when the hero died, the baby was born , or when the friends found her and hoisted her up from the cliff. The cliff, and the tiger, ceased to be a danger when she finally decided she wanted to live. In fact, the dream actually jumped from the girl being found at the edge of the cliff crying for help to the hero's funeral. The rest, it seems, was not important.
In the waking world, I thank God that I have been reminded of what to pray for in the real-life situation. I had forgotten what the black hole was like- which is scary, because it's always just a moment away.