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Night TerrorPosted Sunday, August 21, 2011, at 9:50 AM
By Rayla Stewart Hogue
Special to the Daily Statesman
She woke with overwhelming panic--her heart racing, bile in her throat, every muscle primed for action or reaction. Her mind raced as she tried to remember where she was and why she was so afraid. Adrenaline continued to pump through her body as she slowly realized she was in her own home. There was no imminent danger. It was only a dream.
Her mind was still in panic mode as she rose from the chair and took in the comforting surroundings of her home. Things were as they should be--the fireplace and mantle covered with family photos; comfortable recliners; the couch she had spent hours on with her cat resting on her hip or her head resting on her mother's lap. Memories overcame the panic and wrapped her like a warm, comforting hug.
As she continued to look around the room she noted items missing and the general disarray. Warm fuzzy memories evaporated as the terrors of the nightmare returned--this time as grief. Her family was gone. It was time to let go of the family home. The weight of the reality was almost more than she could bear.
The themes of the nightmare became clear--abandonment, loss, the unknown, fear of failure, longing for approval . . . and on the list continued. She was afraid that she would fail her family. Her fears filled her dreams until they took on a life of their own.
As her mind cleared, she felt comfort flow into her . . . slowly filling her being with loving, calming assurance that she would survive the coming days. She was not alone. God was with her. Her family had taught her how to walk through the hard times--by taking it one step at a time while holding tightly to God's hand.
There are many times in our lives when we must face hard times. We are afraid--even terrified of what lies ahead. We do not want to go where our path is leading. We want to avoid the pain . . . the trials . . . the embarrassment . . . it is not our choosing.
Life is not fair at all times. Hard times come to everyone. Sometimes they are the consequence of our actions--other times not. How we deal with our night terrors--our hard times is our choice. God is always there, waiting to hold our hand and steady us over through the storms of life as well as the terrors of the night.
God help us to clear the fog from our minds, hearts, and spirits by embracing you. You are our comfort, refuge, and strength. So be it. Amen.
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.