Monday, April 22, 2013

Conquering nightmares with dreams

It has been an almost nightly wee hours of the morning occurrence for a few weeks now. Because of the heat and the excessive cost of air conditioning in this heat, we do what many other missionary families choose to do - we all sleep in one room. Yes... all ten of us, mattresses piles on the floor for the kids, furniture pushed up next to the walls, small battery powered lanterns for the biggers who want to continue reading or finishing homework after the lights go out, the thermostat set on 31' C, and many prayers that electricity continues at least mostly uninterrupted during the nighttime hours.

Of course, that means that littlest one stumbles to the bathroom sometime around midnight trips onto our waterbed and begins the slow process of plopping, flopping and kerplopping her way up to the pillows and the middle of the bed. It really reminds me of a fish on the shore trying to find its way back to where it needs to be. She then promptly smashes her nose against my face and I thank the Lord that the fan is still spinning. Otherwise sleep would become an impossibility, at least for me, in this heat with a little one smashed up against me.

Forty-five minutes or so later, I can usually extricate myself from her sweet but very tight grasp, roll over and go back to sleep, at least for awhile...


She starts kicking and pushing, thrashing about, muttering and crying - real tears. I hear her dad mumble something and throw a pillow over his head in frustration. I turn back towards her to wrap her in my arms and gently whisper her awake. Somewhere around the 5th night this has happened, I finally I make out some words: "big," "ugly," "mean" and "cockroach" clearly articulated... several times. A few nights later, having been able to distinguish those same words (as well as others), it is quite clear that she's developed a persistent cockroach phobia.

Katsaridaphobia. That's the "scientific" name for a fear of cockroaches. 

I can't blame her. I don't like them either and  we do seem to be seeing an inordinate number of the critters these days. It startles when one drops off the shower curtain on your shoulder, one scurries across your foot when you're walking to get a drink of cool water in the dark of the night or you lift the bed cover to make the bed and find what you thought was a dead one (until you try and dispose of it) just under the edge of your bed. Those insects are the reason she absolutely refuses to use the "private" toilets at church and hesitates at anything long and skinny poking out from under something and gently waving, antenna-like. I, myself, have not been particularly fond of them since my senior year of high school (I can't ever remember thinking of them before that) when my World Lit instructor insisted that the "monstrous vermin" in Kafka's Metamorphosis was, indeed, a cockroach. I must confess that I am guilty of teasing my husband that one of the perks of marriage is my prince willing and able to rid our world of those nasty fire breathing dragons roaches. 

Just kidding... sort of. 

My 17 year old boy would roll his eyes and tell you I'm not. As prince-in-training, he often gets drafted into said duty.

Why am I going on all about this? 

Now that I know my little one has repeated disturbing dreams about resilient, hard-to-kill big bugs with long wavy antennae that scare her, I can try and help her do something about it...

However, the point of this post is not a 12 step recovery program from katsaridaphobia.

Rather, I've been thinking much about the fact that one way to conquer the scary is to redirect focus on the hopeful.

God's Word says it like this:
"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]." (Philippians 4.8, Amplified Bible)
We are trying to allow these thoughts to guide our table (and other) conversation as we talk together about our imminent reentry

So what sorts of things provoke leaving/reentry nightmares in this tribe of ten? 
  • "I'm going to miss my friends Imogen, Mo Mo, Elayna, Caleb and Nata...,"
  • "The reality that every time we leave, we might never be back...," 
  • " Knowing I might never see Niger friends ever again...," 
  • "Wondering if i'll be able to fit in and make friends, again...," 
  • "Saying bye to my friends and packing up all my stuff. What if I forget something important and special or don't get to see someone or forget to say bye to them?...,"
  • "Facing the possibility that I might never come back to Niger...," 
  • "I really have no experience of what is about to come. It has always been predictable in the past, but I have no idea this time...,"
  • "I'm going to miss Imogen. I won't get to see Jayson. God's Comfort says he likes me! And since my best friend is Australian, I talk some Australian now and what if people can't understand me? I also am afraid I won't have new friends to like me even when I do things different...,"
  • "Stepping on a plane yet once again...," and
  • "Not exactly knowing the next step."

We don't want to get lost in those nightmares, however. If all we look at is the scary, we can totally miss seeing out on the beautiful potential, the amazing, God-gifted fun and glorious parts of going back to our other home and being a part of life there again - for whatever amount of time God gifts us. 

So what sorts of happy dreams occupy the hearts and souls of these Wrightlings (and their parents)?
  • "After what seems like forever (even though its only been two years) of always wondering what the next step might be, we finally know the next step and are taking it...,"
  • "Andi's getting married to Uncle Joe and I get to see them and be one of their flower girls...,"
  • "Andi's wedding and getting to be a flower girl and seeing all my girl cousins and grandparents..,"
  • "Being able to be with family and big hugs at the airport...," 
  • "Seeing family and watching Animal Planet on TV again...,"
  • "Looking forward to a challenge and lots of new things, especially after the sometimes sameness of life here...,"
  • "Seeing family and friends back in the States and having more time with them (and giving Grandpa Gene a hug and kiss with his new beard!)...,"
  • "Exploring possibilities, renewing old friendships and relationships and walking with  trust and great expectations into whatever God has for this next time for our family...,"
  • "Getting home delivered pizza, doughnuts that Mommy doesn't have to make, and getting to see Buddy, Jeremiah and Uncle Joe. Grandparents will be fun, too!...,"
  • "All the new beginnings, fresh starts and wide-open opportunities I'll get to live...!"
Nuff said!

Other posts in this series of preparing to leave the field:


  1. I can definitely relate to the whole family sleeping in one room -- the coolest room -- every night! We used to do that, especially when I was pregnant and was so hot all the time.

    Hoping that the dreams way outweigh the nightmares as you all prepare to leave!

    1. the kids think it is great fun - like one never-ending slumber party! it is a bit harder on the littles, though, who end up staying up later than they would otherwise.

  2. Yes, the Yay and Yuck. Both at the same time- sad for... excited for... Must not focus on simply one side of the coin. Great post. We leave for furlough in just 2 weeks!!!

    1. you're almost there!!! yay! hope you are treasuring these last days with those you love on this side of the water and at the same time eagerly anticipating those lovely reunions on the other side!

      have a great week, Kelly!