Bad Dreams

When was the last time you had a bad dream? For me it’s been years. Probably not since I was a youth, have I had one. I still remember some of the worst ones, and those dreams can still give me the chills as they wrap me in a blanket of loneliness and fear.

As an adult, I tend to dwell, grind and ruminate on things while I lie in bed, before I drift off to sleep. It’s true, that these thoughts aren’t bad dreams (or dreams at all), but they do prohibit me from getting to sleep. As a kid, getting to sleep isn’t the problem. It’s the bad dreams that creep into ones mind that disturb our slumber that cause the problem. Later in life, as an adult, the bad dreams about “bad people” have left me, but the thoughts about the reality of life and the suffering of humanity stay with me and are very real.

Being the father of young children, I am at times awoken by my kid or kids crying in the middle of the night.

Earlier this week, my oldest daughter, Cecelia (Cece) who is 6, came into our room at 3:45 AM and woke me up crying. She could barely talk, she was so scared.

Me : “ What is it honey”
Cece : Crying. Barely audible. “Daddy, I had a bad dream”
Me : “Come in to bed, and I will hold you”

As she lay in my arms with tears slowly streaming down her face, she tried to gather herself and explain her nightmare to me.

Cece : “Daddy, I dreamed about a robber.”
Me : “It’s okay honey, you’re safe now”.
Cece (choking back tears, getting a little hysterical): “It’s just that once the dream comes into my mind, I can’t get it out”

Three days later, I can’t stop thinking about Cece’s comment of not being able to “get the dream out”. I feel sad and empathize with her because I can relate to what she was going through. I have been there. I think we all have. To have the desire, the absolute need to get a thought or dream out of your head, because it is affecting you so negatively.

I also felt a sense of pride at her ability to convey her thoughts and feelings so succinctly, at 3:45 AM, no less.
For kids its bad dreams about a robber, or a monster. For adults, its worries about money, relationships, family and work. Is that the human condition? Our thoughts, dreams, desires and worries come to us most vividly during our slumber?

Here’s hoping that everyone sleeps well tonight.