My body tensed with anxiety. It seemed to be happening in slow motion, this long stumble towards a potentially debilitating fall. In my dream, the danger loomed over an imaginary pregnant client from FLORECE. In real life, it was the middle of the night and my 18-month old was twisting and turning on the mattress where we lay! For the past several nights Pedro and I have been sleeping on the floor of what was previously our daughters' room (now newly painted and awaiting its next occupants) while our bedroom becomes a storage area for furlough. Last night, I arrived at Bible study around 8:00 p.m. and returned home after midnight. By 1:00 a.m. I was wrapped in blankets and ready to drift off to dreamland. Little did I suspect what my dreams had in store!
While occasionally Silas will grant us an uninterrupted night's sleep, recently he has been cutting teeth and not eating well so I wasn't surprised by his need for a bottle last night. In the middle of the night, he will often groggily snuggle between us and drink it down half-asleep. Normally he goes back to bed and all is well. Last night, however, played out differently. Silas woke up from his bottle while we both continued to sleep and he proceeded to toss around and crawl off and on the mattress and over and around our sleeping bodies (perhaps the mattress being on the floor added to the novelty!) In any case, in my tired state I was completely disoriented by his gymnastics which in my dreams played out as an urgent and clearly dangerous situation for an unsuspecting mom-to-be.
Needless to say, I was all-too-happy to accept the opportunity to sleep in awhile longer when morning finally did come and Silas set off to play in daylight hours with his brothers. Unfortunately, sleep did not equal rest! The weird dreams continued and so did my anxiety. In my next dream, I was supposed to be ordering airplane tickets online for a conference. I continually was interrupted by odd events which caused me to feel more pressure to complete the purchase. When finally I did, the total amount was higher than it should have been and I realized I had purchased five tickets instead of just one! Feverishly but to no avail I searched the internet for ways to cancel a credit card purchase. I perused the connecting flights and tried to determine if I could re-sell the tickets to someone who might be traveling those routes. I kept looking at the name of the conference which in my dream was called NES-FAM, trying to figure out what it meant. All I knew was that the FAM stood for family and it was supposed to be a pro-life conference. (Note: This week in real life I looked into pro-life training conferences to possibly attend on furlough, plus I watched a sweet NEStle commercial on adoption. Apparently NES-FAM was the result!)
In the end it was a relief to wake up and re-enter the real world. It was not such a relief to re-visit the piles of odds and ends that still need to be sorted, packed or stored and to wind my way around boxes and bins in the rooms of our house. But it did bring perspective to my odd dreams! Furlough dreams are not always what you might think. Pedro once told me that after packing up for our last furlough and traveling to the States, he would jolt up in bed in the middle of the night having been awakened by an intense fear of forgetting something important. I guess last night was just my turn.
I will conclude by saying this: I am thankful. I am thankful for the privilege of living this crazy missionary life, wild dreams and sleepless night and all. I am thankful for the precious people God has placed in our lives in countries far apart on the globe, both of which we are privileged to call home. I am thankful that the pain of saying goodbye on either end of this trip is a reflection of how richly God has blessed us with relationships that make saying goodbye difficult.
And today I am very thankful that whether in my dreams or in my reality, there is Someone much greater than me in control of all the details of our lives - both here and there, coming and going, in routine and transition. As Psalm 121:7-8 sweetly says, "The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Thank you, Lord, and Amen!