It’s a quiet, cozy sort of night, one cool enough that we actually have to close the windows and cuddle into flannels to keep warm. Such a marvelous change after the humidity and heat of the last week or so.
I love evenings like this when we can have comfort food – hamburgers topped with port wine jelly – visit over a sip or five of Malbec, and look through the Christmas issues of favorite magazines for inspiration.
I need these moments of peaceful comfort to catch my breath and bring my soul back to rest. Especially when I’m going through a scary phase of healing.
Healing is a beautiful word, a word that gives me hope and restores my courage, but it’s not an easy thing. For me, healing means going deeper, past the loose soil of things I’ve already worked through, and into the dark, heavy clay that only breaks up with much resolve and determination. It’s worth it, but it’s difficult and scary.
Going deeper means nightmares. Always. I’m never in any doubt as to when my body is ready to enter another phase of healing, for it heralds such moments with vivid nightmares that don’t end until I wake screaming or crying or both. I’m thankful for my Bear who is attuned to such things and doesn’t mind being roused in the middle of the night. He just shakes me out of the awfulness, pulls me close, and reminds me I’m safe and loved and OK. Then teases me about being such a noisy roommate.
I don’t like nightmares. Not one bit. But I’ve learned a lot through them. Sometimes I can wake myself. Other times I’m able to change the story, to fight back, to not let the bad guys win. This time around I’m learning to remind myself I’m not alone. In the past I had to fight back by myself, and woke exhausted and sad. But now, somehow, I know there are people who’ve got my back. The nightmares are still awful, but they aren’t hopeless and now I know I’m not alone.
That made me smile this morning as Bear and I talked through the latest nightmare. I woke shaken yet comforted, filled with greater love for the true friends who are there to stand by me, even in my dreams.
I don’t know where nightmares come from or what prompts them or why, one day, they just disappear until the next time. But I do know that somehow they’ve helped me be stronger in real life. The truths I’ve learned in the darkness stay with me in the light: I can change the story, I can fight back, and I’m not alone.
What is something you’ve learned that helps you in dark times? xo