It was pitch black as I stumbled to find the bedroom door, and sharp urgent cries were piercing the quiet house again. I’m disoriented but the adrenaline is pumping, I’m on the case.
“Who’s crying?” – Andrew, “T, I think, just going…” – me.
I follow the noise, and am quickly climbing the ladder into the high bed and being grabbed and pulled in by terrified clinging arms. As I find a space to sit T is climbing into me, her face pushing into my neck and face, her fingers at my eyes to get my attention.
“Is it a bad dream?” – me, “yes really bad, they’re all at the door, roarhh, grrr..” – T, gritting her teeth, and growling.
I loosen her fingers that are now digging into my eyes and cheeks like bear claws. “I’m here now, tight squeeze?”. I hold her close & tight as the growling and screaming lessens and turns to sobbing. “Please God, don’t let this wake the others. How am I going to settle T to sleep again this time?”
As she begins to quieten I slowly but surely maneuver the tangled mass that is the two of us towards the pillow, trying to bring some covers with us.
“I won’t sleep Mummy, they’re still there. TURN THE LIGHT ON NOW!! NO MUMMY, I WON’T CLOSE MY EYES AGAIN. DON’T LIE DOWN!”, “Ok, lets move the little light closer. I’m not going anywhere, I’ve got you.” I hold tight as I get us back under covers with heads on the pillow. Her hands are back clutching my face, her eyes are scared. “Shh, I’ve got you, come on it’s still sleepy time.”
“They’re still there Mummy, it’s not finished yet.”
“I know T. Is Jesus there? Do you remember we know that Jesus can meet you in your dreams. Where is he?” – “Don’t know Mummy, don’t like it..” – “Let’s ask him where he is? ‘Jesus, we need you. This is a bad dream, and T is scared. Where are you? come and help T to shoo the baddies away please’.”… I carry on holding her, waiting … “T, when you close your eyes just look for him, I’ll hold you the whole time. But Jesus is great at driving the baddies away, he can help you. He is always stronger than baddies. When A gets scared by bad dreams I remind him of a verse in the Bible that says perfect love drives out fear. Jesus is perfect love. He can do it for you, he’ll get rid of the baddies with you. When I talk with A he says Jesus does a great big Karate kick and sends the baddies down the stairs and out of the door for good. Can you close your eyes and see Jesus, go and help him get the baddies away”… “Jesus is our protector too” – T, rather surprised I hadn’t mentioned such an important fact. “Yes he is… the Bible says he is like a big strong castle with high walls we can run and hide in…”
She is calming down, and really trying to get ready to sleep again. She wriggles round and pulls panda & pandy close, and then I feel her body begin to rest and settle as she starts to close her eyes. I am so tired! “Jesus please help her, I can’t help her.”
As I begin to drift, “It’s ok Mummy, he didn’t need to build the whole castle, we’re building a wall together. They won’t come near me with Jesus here. They’re watching but they’re bored now.” … “great, they’ll go soon. Back to sleep now.”
Can’t keep my eyes open, despite the light, and the books and toys I can feel underneath me (she nests!) now that we seem to be the other side of the crisis! My arm’s gone to sleep before I have, I carefully slide it out from under T and I sleep again.
“Mummy, they’ve gone… and my little ponies have come to play with us.”
I open a bleary eye, “wonderful. I’m just going to the loo. Is that ok?” – that’s our code for I need my bed now T, let me go please! She lets me go with a squeezy kiss, pulls the covers in tight and closes her eyes. Just like that! (yes it does have an air of the miraculous about it don’t you think?)
I leave the light where it is, and head back to bed. I have no idea what unearthly time it is, but I’m hoping there are weeks before the alarm goes off at 6! (and that for most of that time I’ll be in my own bed!) “Thank you Jesus, for being there, for protecting A & B from the noise, for speaking to T in a way she could see and understand, for understanding T, for knowing just how to get her involved in sorting out her bad thoughts, for knowing just what will make her smile and feel safe, for being stronger, for reminding me what to say, for giving me patience and wisdom and love … for my bed, for precious sleep.”
This way of using imagination (looking with the eyes of our hearts) and being with Jesus is something T and I have been exploring. This is probably the clearest example so far of us putting it into practice. Find out about the beginning of our explorations here in a previous post ‘can you hear me?’.