Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Nightmare that is reality
As I was reading Ann's book, right in the second chapter or so she describes waking up from a nightmare. In the nightmare she's been diagnosed with cancer and she is dying. She wakes up with the fear that someday she will be dead and this is what she says:
From the book "1,000 Gifts"

For years of mornings, I have woken wanting to die. Life itself twists into mightmare. For years, I have pulled the covers up over my head, dreading to begin another day I'd be bound to just wreck. years, I lie listening to the taunt of names ringing off my interior walls, ones from the past that never drifted far and away: Loser. Mess. Failre. They are signs nailed overhead, nailed through me, naming me. The stars are blinking out. Funny, this.  Yesterday morning, the morning before, all these mornings, I wake to the disontent of life in my skin. I wake to self-hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain to to be too late, neglect cleaning toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary.  Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? But this morning I wake wildly wanting to live. Physically feeling it in the veins trembling, the hard pant of the lungs, the seeing it in the steady stars, how much I really want to really live. How I don't want to die. Is that the message of nightmares and dreams? To live either fully alive.....or in empty nothingness?
It's the in between that drives us mad.

Oh, how I can relate this. There are so many issues in this one paragraph that I could discuss but I'll save some of that for later. For now I want to focus on what came from this. The rest of the chapter goes on to talk of how this nightmare and the way she woke thinking about living was what brought her to the conclusion that thanking is the way to a full life.

When I read this chapter I remembered something about myself.

I have this reoccurring nightmare. I hadn't thought about it in a while. But after reading about Ann's experience, I remembered.
I don’t know if I’ve ever told anyone about it other than my husband. I often wake from it with my heart pounding, fear in my throat and tears in my eyes.

Then I move closer to my husband to make sure he is still there.
Because you see in the dream, I’ve lost him. There are different variations, but essentially he is leaving or is already gone.

And it’s my own fault.

No matter what the scenario, his reasoning is the same. “You don’t love me”.

I beg and plead with him telling him that I do love him. But it’s too late. He’s spent too many years not knowing that I love him, he doesn’t believe me now.

Other times he’s already gone and I see him, happy with someone else. And again, it’s my own fault.
I kept my heart locked from him. I kept my true feelings to myself. Never letting him know how much he meant to me. Never telling him how much I loved him. Because when you open your heart completely. When it give it away wholeheartedly. There is always the chance of it getting broken, given back or just plain ole destroyed.  I knew I shouldn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t take that risk.

The nightmare shows me at what cost.

Even after I wake, and know it was a dream the realness of it gets to me.  I sometimes lie next to my husband begging God not to let it happen.

And I weep because it is true. I have done exactly as I dreamed. In my efforts to protect my heart I’ve kept it from the people who matter most. For what? So it can end up broken anyway?

Staying closed off is riskier than opening up.

Staying closed off might keep me feeling safe, but is it really where I want to be?  The disconnect associated with staying safe doesn't allow for thankfullness. I'm at a distance so I go about things like a robot, not experiencing emotions of any kind.  Emotionless may be safe living but it is not living. It's existing.  I don't want to just exist anymore. I want to live, and I want to live abundantly as Jesus means for us to live. 

What about you? Do you live fully or are you staying safe and just existing?

From my Journal:
January 13th –Thank me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious unrepeatable gift.


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