Suddenly I am awake. I feel bile rising in my throat and the images of a nightmare start to fade as my eyes focus on the clock – 3:39 am. Sitting up quickly I feel sweat covering my fevered body as I take a ragged breath.
Heather lies beside me, breathing quietly and undisturbed by my sudden movements. In the dark I sense the cat walking up the bed, curious about what has brought me upright. There are no sounds and the only light is the dim candle light from the living room.
Our eternal flame. It burns day and night on the hearth. It is a symbol of hope and love – a constant reminder of God’s love and presence in this house.
What disturbed my mind?
A night terror? What demon touched my soul – what horror tried to intrude on my rest?
I try think about the terror I just woke from but the flickering light says not follow that horror – let it pass and be at peace. My body starts to cool. Spirit the cat puts her paws on my legs and starts to purr. Swallowing and taking a deep breath I scratch the kitty’s ears. Pushing my way back under the covers Heather must sense my presence and she moves closer putting her hand on my arm.
3:44 am was the time my brain recorded before sleep again took me.
Dawn came with clear skies and the promise of a glorious day.
I had to write that. It’s been on my mind all day. 3:39 am. It won’t go away. I wanted to write about other things tonight. My granddaughter is visiting this week and that certainly would make more entertaining reading. I’ve got this really cool cross project in the shop and there is a ton of good theology and symbology to write about. The sermon today at church was on Thomas and I got a bunch of good material for the post I am working on for doubting Thomas. My health is better and I could write about all the things I am doing.
But there are ghosts that just won’t leave.
A reminder of that came in the mail this week from Kaiser.
June 28th, my post radiation follow-up with my urologist. It will be the PSA test that will tell if the treatment has started to work. It will be when I’ll have to face the demon of cancer again and all the doubts and fears will be there – have I chosen right? Did it work? Do I need more treatments? Will my time end sooner than I’d hoped?
During my waking hours I can suppress such thoughts. While the sun shines I can find hope. When the ocean winds blow I can set sail to adventures and life.
But the demons of fear and doubt are patient and chose their time to strike – often when I am weary or when my defenses all drop during sleep. Sleep, sweet rest.
Today is a wonderful day. Yesterday was living life full – breakfast with family in San Francisco and time with our granddaughter at the Exploratorium. I love the Exploratorium – if you have a child you have to bring them here. You have to let them explore.
I remember when I was in my early twenties and my father and I had watched the documentary, “The Day After Trinity” about the creation of the first atomic bomb during WWII. Robert Oppenheimer was the major focus of the program and his brother, Frank Oppenheimer told many of the stories. The documentary was shown on the local PBS channel as a pledge fundraiser and at one point they mentioned that Frank Oppenheimer had founded the Exploratorium.
Well that was enough for dad and I – the next weekend we took BART into the city and got a bus out to the Exploratorium. We went through the whole place and had a day that he and I talked about until his death.
Now I have taken two grandchildren to see the place and many of the exhibits that my dad loved are still there. It’s wonderful to see a new generation take interest in the science that my father loved so much. It is a joy and soul lifter to see a child’s enthusiasm as they discover our world and begin to understand the physics that guides the falling of a feather.
As joyful as that is there is still a bit of bitter-sweet as I leave the Palace of Fine Arts. Memories of my father and as we look out from shore to San Francisco bay I see the place where the boat stopped and I committed my father’s ashes to the sea.
As the memories flood in a girl, stands next to me, points and says, “Look at the sail boats.”
In the midst of the new the old remains. In the midst of hope the demons try to bring despair.
Yes, there are sail boats. Look do you see the wind surfers too?