We’re all here for different reasons, working out our unique and evolving karma. But yours, mine, theirs are at core pretty much the same stuff even if the nouns, verbs, locations, and languages seem very different. My cosmology says we’re all learning the lessons of understanding and compassion. I may get hung up on one piece of it and you on another. So we get different stories to live and tell along the way.
Those stories are our lives. If you think of each incarnation as a going to sleep and waking up in a different dream, then we’re each here dreaming, trying to make sense of the imagery and lessons of those stories. Dreaming is the metaphor of this and next week’s readings: what we’re being told and how to make sense of it in ways that are useful.
Joseph, our new protagonist, has a wild ride. Like the spinning cups at the amusement park, knocked and jolted from every side, turning all the while in crazy loops.
His story this week: he’s daddy’s favorite son; full of himself; wears a distinctive “coat of many colors”; is gifted with prophetic dreams (in which he’s the boss and the hero); gets tossed into a pit by his jealous brothers, then sold into slavery; becomes the target of his owner’s wife’s affections; resists her would-be seduction; lands in jail; interprets more prophetic dreams; gets a reputation for being insightful and special.
It’s clear early that he’s not going to become a simple herder. There’s a star on his head (even if he painted it there himself) that says, Look at me. Big things coming.
Most of our journeys are less dramatic. We take longer to find our gifts. Sure, there’s the occasional Mozart, a prodigy at age six. But most of us come into our own more slowly, in stages, over time. Or even blossom late, like Grandma Moses. Our gifts are learned from all our stories, the joyous and the painful, the easy and the hard. The living dream of our journey.
Using Torah as an allegory for personal growth helps you see its archetypes as both for and about you. Instructive if not directly prophetic. A tool to help you get more from your process.
There was a recent radio story about people with the chance to choose one super power. The most popular were the ability to fly or to become invisible (with gazillion caveats, like How fast? or Do my clothes go invisible too?). Joseph’s super power is dream interpretation. What to others is a complex jumble of images or strange situations is for him a vivid and prophetic story.
Insight about what’s coming, or at least what energies are turning the gears, creates perspective. And as much as most of us wouldn’t choose slavery and prison, each piece of the journey helps him to where he’s doing. Ditto for you.
Even if you can’t fly, become invisible, or prophesize, think about what makes you special. How did you acquire and deepen those skills? How they can help you get closer to your goals? How can they help you make better choices on your journey?