In a recent post, Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti stated that she dreams a lot and rarely experiences a nightmare. I, on the other hand, have nightmares regularly. For the most part, I stopped having really terrifying dreams a long time ago. Now, I call them nightmares because they are terribly oppressive, although all too often, I still wake with my heart pounding.
I used to have a recurring nightmare. I would dream that dream once or twice a year. It began when I was in grammar school and it finally stopped at age 18 after a traumatic experience. Don't ask me why. As a young mother, I would dream that I had fallen walking up steps in front of my childhood church and couldn't get up. I've dreamed that I needed to warn someone and couldn't make a sound. I've dropped numerous valuables down grates and have been unable to retrieve them, etc, etc, etc.....
Near the end of my marriage, my "bad" dreams intensified. In them something bad would always happened. Something so bad that I would spend the whole dream trying to fix it. I had so many bad dreams for so many years that I finally taught myself to wake up. At some hopeless point in the dream I would say to myself..."this is a dream, wake up" and I would. Learning to do this was freeing. No longer would I have to spend the whole night trying to do the impossible, trying to redo some deed gone horribly wrong, trying to undo some misdeed. But even though I might wake myself, sometimes I still would go back to sleep to start the frustrating cycle all over again. Once I woke up from a nightmare every night for about 2 weeks in a row at 2:00 in the morning.
I don't have as many frustrating dreams anymore. Probably because my daytime circumstances aren't as frustrating now, but sometimes I still find myself trying desperately to work out problems in my sleep. Before you suggest it, let me assure you that I have no need of a psychoanalyst. I know why I have these kinds of dreams. I just don't like them. Why can't I have wonderful, happy, colorful, dreams of happy people who do great things?
I remember going to my parent's bedroom in the middle of the night often when I was 5 or 6 because of scary dreams. At first I was allowed to get in bed with them, but eventually my mother told me whenever I had a bad dream and couldn't go back to sleep to count my blessings...to think of all the good things in my life. Counting blessings has stood the test of time and countless bad dreams. Thinking on the good things in life has soothed me back to sleep many a sleepless night.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8