Behind the old green hedges that line my childhood home, I crouch down and let the branches of dry leaves surround me until I’m hidden like a tiny bird. I catch a glimpse of dew drops glistening on a freshly spun spider web, and realize that I’m most certainly destined to encounter the owner of this intricate creation. As quickly as the thought enters my mind, the creature appears silently and alert – a hairy beast of a spider (nearly the size of my hand) resembling the Abominable Snowman with eight legs and huge fangs. Oh brother!
My mind keeps telling me to pull back and run, but for some reason I can’t resist the urge to poke at it – as if this Abominable Spider is actually a chubby baby’s cheek begging for a squeeze. With my index finger extended, I creep closer inch by inch in what feels like a never-ending stand-off. The magnetic attraction of the spider continues to draw me in until I’m dangerously too close. OUCH!!!! (Wow, I clearly have horrible reflexes to go along with my bad judgment in this dream.)
I feel a burning pinch on the underside of my forearm where the spider’s fangs puncture my skin. In an instant, the retched perpetrator scurries off never to be seen again, leaving me to bleed in terror. Immediately I can feel numbness in my arm beginning to spread from the wound as my entire limb changes from flesh tones to various shades of purple and black. I stumble out of the bush and, with every ounce of strength I can muster, drag my self to the front porch of the house and crash through the front door. Family and friends crowded in the living room gasp in horror as I collapse into a ball on the carpet.
“Take me to the hospital!” I demand. “The venom is spreading to my heart!” A stranger picks me up and places me on a flatbed dolly as the scenery morphs into a hospital corridor. The pressing weight of death bears down on my chest as I give up all strength and lie limp on the cold metal. The man pulls me along, coasting through the sterile hospital hallways as wind from each swinging door splashes me in the face like cool water. Through the last set of doors, we enter a bright open room when I notice a toddler sitting on the tile floor, completely alone and uncared for.
“STOP!” I shout and the cart screeches to a halt. How can this child be left alone out here? I’m appalled and terrified that her parents are nowhere to be found. As I reach my one good arm out, the baby eagerly crawls over to me and climbs on my chest to get a closer look at this passing atrocity. She stares at me with a piercing concern for my well-being and a pacifier in her mouth. Her shiny black eyes are an ocean of wisdom as she places her hand on my shoulder. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m not here to rescue this child… she is here to comfort me. At this moment, I’m surrounded by warmth and love. I know in my heart that everything is going to be ok.