The terror was real.
My heart raced as I lay frozen in a semi-aware state of consciousness. Unable to stop them, the night terrors of my West Texas childhood were infrequent, but seared into my mind.
The room I shared with my little sister was not conducive for late sleeping, with the east morning light pouring through three thinly covered windows.
Red twin bedspreads of a woven type corduroy lay over a red and white striped bedskirt with some kind of animal on it. I think it was chickens? Which seems an odd choice for a bedroom as I think of it now. But all were lovingly sewn by my mother the master seamstress.
It was a cheerful and happy room, most of the time…
But at night, it was different. I loved it when she the beautiful, would perch on the side of my bed and talk to me. Though truth be told, I’m sure she knew I was stalling the darkness.
As the lights went out, I curled into a ball, making myself as small and secure as possible.
With the darkness came the creeping fear.
Fear that there was something evil lurking under my bed.
And then the dreams would come. It’s the nightmares I remember vividly.
It was always the same lonely cliff. Sometimes I was hanging from a branch over the egde, sometimes I was stranded on a tiny ledge where I had fallen. But the fear and hopelessness was terrifying.
And the ending unresolved, I was never rescued, yet I never fell…
As an adult, I know what my childhood self couldn’t—my current sleepless nights and rare nightmares, are the result of worry. Sometimes I know exactly the cause, other times I just have a vague underlying feeling of unease that I brush away and refuse to take the time to examine.
I used to pride myself on not being a worrier. But that “P” word crashed long ago, now that I’ve lived long enough and loved deeply enough. I’ve seen so many troubles, trials and devastations, that my naivety about life has worn thin.
I know that life is fragile
I know that my world can change in an instant
And I know that evil lurks and hides and can clutch anyone in it’s stormy path of destruction.
And my throbbing head begins to spin–so many people to care about, so many problems, so many things unresolved.
So I worry.
I worry about things I have no control over.
I worry about family,
I worry about work,
I worry about friends and illness and soldiers and wars…
I worry about dark outcomes when people I care about don’t do what I think they should.
As if I have all the answers.
And I have to take a deep breath and stop myself cold.
And remember I need not carry these burdens alone.
So I close my eyes
And hum the old familiar hymn in my head, “I need thee every hour…”
And slowly exhale
Into the one thing I should have already done
The one thing that always saves me from despair.
I step into the waiting arms of my Lord in
And he patiently whispers, “What took you so long my child?”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
-What keeps you up at night?
-Write your worries down, pray over them and tear them up. Then throw them away to symbolize giving them over to God.