Friday, September 25, 2009


I started having nightmares after I lost my job in April. I dreamed about returning to work and having ugly confrontations with various people. I dreamed about being at work but not wearing pants. I dreamed about running into former colleagues and screaming at them. It's safe to say I was a little angry about the situation.

One of my character flaws is that I hold grudges. For a long, long time. The boy in high school who broke my heart? I still think ugly thoughts about him. (Keep in mind that I've been with my husband for 21 years now...married almost 17 years.) The girl who made me miserable in fifth grade? Let's just say that when I heard that she had been checked into a mental institution in college, my first reaction was of delight.

I know it's not nice, and probably not very healthy, but that's part of who I am.

So, the nightmares. I was waking up, sweating, heart pounding, in the middle of almost every night. Sometimes I fell back asleep, but usually not. I spent many anxious pre-dawn hours in the living room, watching "Big Brother After Dark" or reading mysteries or playing spider solitaire.

And then, one Sunday, my friend Laura was the worship associate in church, which meant she led all the liturgy when we had a guest speaker for the sermon. I don't remember exactly what she said in her prayer, but something changed. Immediately, and, so far, permanently.

Like I said, I don't remember her words, but an image came into my mind as she spoke. An image of a stone in the water, being smoothed by the current. I imagined the jagged edges gradually wearing away, leaving a shiny surface. There is a bowl of river rocks in my bathroom, and I thought of those stones, so different from the various rocks I've dug from my garden soil this summer.

And I though of myself as one of those rough rocks, and how I could let the current smooth out my rough edges if I just let it.

A feeling of peace washed over me. Immediately. Deeply. Something had changed. I felt something unfamiliar: forgiveness. I was refreshed, calmed, different.

The nightmares stopped, mostly. I can't say that I've completely forgiven the wrongs I've experienced in my life, but I definitely am not dwelling on them like before. I'm sleeping better. And I look at those two collections of rocks - those rough rocks in the back yard, and the smooth river rocks in my bathroom - and know that that beautiful, shiny, smooth surface came from years of currents wearing away the jagged edges.


allison said...

brought tears to my eyes.
miss and love

Ashleigh Carroll said...

Good stuff Kaleigh...Thanks for sharing.