NIghtmares can leave us feeling as if we're suffocating. In fact, in the mid 16th century, that was one meaning of the word. They are like goblins that steal our breath. Sometimes, we find it difficult to sleep restfully after a nightmare; sometimes, finding the images replaying in our mind throughout the next day; sometimes, finding that we are fearful to sleep again, lest we find ourselves caught in another suffocating dream. Yet, we often keep our nightmares to ourselves, feeling that they are a sign of weakness. This lets them retain their power! So, here's a prayer to help you when you find yourself having a nightmare, or when you are fearful of a recurring nightmare. Keep a copy of it near your sleeping place...
Gracious God, the time of night is meant to be a time of sleep and restoration for me. A time for my body and mind to be still in the womb of darkness, so that when a new day peers up over the pink horizon, I am ready to greet that day with a joyful heart. But, when my sleep is troubled by dreams that frighten or confuse me, my waking hours are disturbed by the nighttime images still playing in my mind. Instead of delighting in the new day, I am edgy and uneasy. When I place my body in bed this night, I pray your angels of peace will hover over me to protect me from the anxiety of the dreams that I fear. Let me rest quietly and still in the peacefulness of your presence. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.
Life is rich with texture and beauty. Even the parts that seem unwanted hold within them seeds of grace.