Saturday, October 17, 2009

From nightmares to dreams

I had a nightmare last night. It jerked me completely awake and left me compressed by bands of residual terror. Even after I woke it took a moment to reclaim my mind and racing heart.

The nightmare involved two of my children and was so vivid I felt I needed to check on them; so I did what thousands of mothers around the world did last night. I got up in the dark and went from room to room checking on my sleeping family.

I found my teenage son still up playing video football games. (Alas, it was a Friday night.) We visited a moment then I moved on. My younger ones were sleeping soundly, the dog stretched out in peaceful slumber with them.

Then I went into the room another teenage son shares with the baby of the family. He hadn't wanted to let a four-year-old brother move in with him. He'd had his own room for a couple of years and he, understandably, didn't want to lose that privacy and independence. But circumstances (i.e. Mom and Dad) pressed upon him and they have shared a room ever since.

As I entered their darkened room last night I saw they were both sleeping soundly. I also saw that my teenage son had maneuvered a television into such a position that I knew he had watched a movie with his younger brother. How touched I was that he would put forth the effort to share a late night movie party with his little brother.

I returned to my room not longer terrified but filled with gratitude. After a prayer of thanksgiving I returned to bed but I couldn’t sleep. I knew my prayer was not finished.

So, as I lay in my bed I continued to express gratitude for my life—a life I have always thought of as average. But last night I realized it was not.

It's not average because I have a good marriage partner who is faithful, loyal and supportive in his non-perfect way. How grateful I am that he comes home to me every night. He has seen me sick and angry and at my worst, yet he has covenanted to stay with me and he honors that promise. What a blessing.

It's not average because I have tremendously good children. They are not perfect. They all have their strengths and weaknesses; but they truly do love each other. Laughter is more common in our home than shouts and angry voices.

It's not average because we pray together as a family every night and most mornings. We try to read the scriptures together. We hold weekly Family Home Evenings together. By their own initiative, even my teenagers come and give me hugs in front of their friends.

I forgot my nightmare and relished living a dream. What a wonderful way to finish a night! What a wonderful way to live a life!

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