At 2:00 A.M., I awoke with a strong impression of Vietnam, with no accompanying dream story.

Instead, a flood of images converged in its wake: anti-war demonstrations, President Johnson and his advisors in the Oval office, TV coverage of guerilla warfare with casualties, the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. withdrawal from the conflict, the horrific stories that followed, the 1975 unification of Vietnam, bloodied by thirty years of killing.

So the question remains, what does Vietnam say to me now?

A brief YouTube of this country reveals an impoverishment of spirit with unconscious war scars, an aping of Western ways, and an enslavement to Communism. Lost in the dust of centuries is its identity as a people with its dynasties, its Buddhism temples, and its skirmishes with China.

Certainly, I own my self-imposed impoverishment: violence, confusion, need to please others, and skewed perceptions that I still deal with in Chronic Pain Anonymous. But I shudder to think of the bleeding remnants, still hidden within the recesses of my unconscious.

With God’s help, I’ve come this far. The challenge is to continue mining my dreams for more hints of such disorders and Twelve-Step them away, one day at a time. So I pray for healing…