Last night I had one of those dreams where the setting kept changing. First, I was in a university marching band, practicing on the football field. Then I was sitting at a desk in a classroom. After that, I was attending a reception on a boat. Even though the setting kept changing, there was a story line that ran throughout the dream. I met Terri Gross, of the interviewing radio show, Fresh Air.

I really like Terri Gross’ interviews so I was excited to meet her. The reason we were meeting is that I had written her about my blog. In the classroom, I was telling the other students what I would say to Terri, if I were to meet her. And then she walked onto the boat with a container full of elegantly decorated cupcakes. Terri explained that she had made them and that they were leftover from a wedding she’d attended earlier that day.

“I got your letter”, she said.

“I read your blog,” she said.

“It’s not funny.”

In my dream, the only part of my blog that existed were my earlier days of blogging, when I was going through the acute phase of breast cancer assessment and treatment. I used a lot of humor in my writing then. Terri was telling me (I could read her mind in my dream) that cancer is not funny.

“I thought it was hysterically absurd”, I explained.

The dream ended with her giving me the last of a special flavor of cupcake, which was nice,  especially since I am unable to eat wheat during my waking hours. The fact that it was a broken piece of cupcake with no frosting shows once again that even in my dreams, my fantasies fall short.

Humor was one of my ways of dealing with a very stressful time in my life. I still use it.  I am typically able to laugh at the ridiculous aspects of life. However, I find myself relatively humorless these days. I am frequently thinking, “That’s not funny.”

Over a year ago, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States. A number of friends on social media thought this hilarious because it seemed so preposterous. I wrote, “That’s not funny. That’s terrifying.”

Admittedly, I’ve laughed at a few things, mainly extremely well-done Saturday Night Live skits and late night t.v. bits. But otherwise, I mostly avoided memes, because they weren’t funny to me. Many of them were mean spirited. Donald Trump is an extremely sad, insecure, and cruel person. To nurture my own compassion helps me distance myself from the hate vortex he is stirring up.  I have brought him to mind during meditations, wishing him well, wishing him joy, all with the purpose of cultivating compassion and acceptance. The Christian version of this approach is “Love your enemies.”

It is really really hard to do this but I keep trying. Some weeks ago, I saw a video of the Dalai Lama talking about Donald Trump. He made fun of Trump’s hair! I thought to myself, “That’s not funny.” I have thought back to that film and realized that this is really a mark of how stressful this election has been to a lot of people. Even the Dalai Lama took a cheap shot.

Perhaps having judgmental thoughts about the Dalai Lama’s short-comings in compassion is a good signal to me that I am taking life too seriously, so seriously that I am causing myself suffering on top of real pain.

We are all doing our best in difficult and uncertain times. In about two days, there will be more certainty, one way or another.



P.S. If I have another dream with cupcakes, I am taking a whole cupcake complete with elegant frosting. Hear that, dreaming part of my brain?