There are nightmares that we dream and nightmares that we live. We have relief from the ones we dream when we awake; we have relief from the ones we live when we sleep. The latter, however, often invade our respite of sleep so that they envelop us in a continuum, a fog, a disoriented heaviness in which there are no bearings, no equilibrium – we grope, we feel our way, we wish that we were dreaming, we can’t believe what we’re living is real, we are numb one minute and we cry out in pain the next.
The chasm between our pain and comfort is beyond measure, the abyss is without bottom, when will we stop falling? What will be at the bottom of the crevice? The void envelops us, the darkness overwhelms us – how can this be? Why did God allow this?
Paul writes of a time when he and his friends despaired even of life. There is more than one Biblical passage in which the writer yearns for the relief of death, more than one passage in which he rues the day he was born.
In living nightmares we can but trust our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus and hope that we have friends and family who will gather around us…not with advice…but with love and comfort and presence. In living nightmares we need to know that we are not alone, that even in the darkest darkness that God is there, that friends are there – that the presence of God and others might assure the innermost recesses of our being that we are not alone.
We do not need advice, but we do desperately need prayers and intercessions – answers will not comfort us, no matter how driven we may be to seek them. Mortality and frailty are realities; while we may predict when sand castles will be washed away by tides, we cannot predict when the vicissitudes of life will sweep away those we love, we do not know which word will be our last word or which step will be our final step.
I grieve for my friend who lost his granddaughter.
The nightmare is real.