I had my first dream about a shooter.
I say dream, and not nightmare, because that’s what it was. I wasn’t filled with the usual panicky, terrifying, wake-up-shaking fear that nightmares bring.
I was in Israel, but I wasn’t.
I was in a museum but it was also a classroom.
People I knew were in my dream, but it was also full of strangers.
There was panic, but I wasn’t afraid. I was on the ground, watching bullets hit the windows above me.
We eventually ran, but there were shooters everywhere. We were sleeping outside, but my only real fear was that my bag would be stolen.
Another shooter appeared, but he told us not to be afraid.
We kept walking through Jerusalem and suddenly I noticed the white and blue flag on his hat and we all smiled, relieved.
He looked just like the other shooters, but he had a flag.
I don’t even recall how the dream ended. I only remembered I had it about an hour after I woke up.
I checked my Facebook- there was another attack, this one blood curdling, terrifying, wake up shaking scary.
While I was falling asleep last night I had the thought process that I often have – I felt so safe. I spent years in New York and Chicago, and I’ve had nights in both cities that filled me with fear, sure of a break in or worse.
I’ve never had that very real fear in my hometown, living in a little neighborhood where the sound of a car driving by is a rarity.
As I fell asleep I wondered what could be safer – me in my bed, in New Hampshire, nearly my entire family with me in one house.
I dreamt that dream.
I woke up.
I heard that horrifying news about a girl, only five years my junior, who fell asleep in her bed just like me, but didn’t get to have that dream- she had a real life nightmare.
I spent a Shabbat in Kiryat Arba last year. My friends and I joked and laughed and strolled around, despite the very real warnings given to us about the safety.
I fell asleep unworried about the real threat of evil doers. There were gunshots in middle of the night, but it felt like it was part of the adventure.
My dream last night is more terrifying now than it was when I dreamt it.
I didn’t want to not be terrified.
Why was I not terrified?
Why do I have to wait for it to happen to me, G-D forbid a million times over, for me to get it?
Why has this become so normal that it doesn’t even terrify me in my dreams?
And why, why did it take me so long to dream about it?
Has it not permeated my life enough? Have the news stories remained at surface level and not infiltrated the depths of my mind, the places where dreams live?
Rather than the safety of my brothers and sisters in Israel and all over the world taking up my heart and soul, I’ve dared to have other things there.
My worries, my concerns, boys, clothes, friends, money! for heavens sake.
I just had a real conversation about how frustrated I am that I can’t afford to travel right now, and how I just want to save up double the amount of money I have now before I go.
I had a dream about a mass shooting, and I wasn’t afraid.
Because somehow, in some ridiculous twisted way, it’s not real to me yet.
When will it be real?
I don’t want it to happen to anyone I know, anywhere close to me.
I don’t want it to happen again.
When will it be real?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I want to scream and shout and cry and get everyone to wake up from their fear-less dreams and make something change. Make something happen.
But it feels impossible, because the only ones who wholeheartedly get it are the ones with the scars, and that’s not fair.
Why can’t we, the unaffected, get up enough gumption and energy and fix this?
I know it’s been said before. I know I’ve probably said it before.
I don’t know what and if I am adding to the conversation.
But someone wise told me recently that I shouldn’t force myself to write if I don’t feel what I am writing, and today I am feeling this, and I want to write it. I need to. I feel that if I keep this inside, it will remain solely in my dreams.
Perhaps this will move someone to think, someone bigger or better than me, who can take words and turn them into action, something I struggle mightily with.
Someone. Who is out there? Who is willing to make something change before it becomes a reality?
I’d like to keep all shootings in my dreams, but none of us are afforded that luxury.
This is no longer about the victims and the people who were lucky enough to not be victims.
This is about all of us, and if we don’t make something change now, we might not be so lucky next time.
We can’t afford to be unafraid anymore.