Thursday, January 7, 2010

T-Rex and Calculus

When I was a child, I had a recurring nightmare in which I was running through a dark forest, pursued by a rather menacing Tyrannosaurus Rex. I don't know if this was a result of me reading all the dinosaur books I could get my hands on, but thankfully I always woke up before it caught me and the rest of the day was rather unaffected by this slumbering encounter.

As I got older, I found myself in a new kind of dream, and one that rarely ended with my alarm clock buzzer. I would dream that it was near final exam time in high school and I suddenly realized that I had not shown up to my calculus class all year. My attendance grade was an F and I was most surely going to fail the final because, for obvious reasons, I knew no calculus. Ensue panic. I would wake up from this dream in a cold sweat, mentally calculating how quickly I could possibly teach myself derivatives and frantically running around the room getting dressed to go to school early for extra help.

Now, eventually reality would set in and I'd realize that not only was I not in high school anymore, but college was also becoming a distant memory. My day was still usually a mess, though. I could never quite recover from this panicked started.

After several years of this dream, I finally figured out its cause. The moment my life had no margin, the moment I had more on my to-do list than I could remember in my head, I guess my subconscious just panicked and the terrors of a forgotten class invaded my REM cycle. My nightmare was a total loss of control and certain failure.

It's a sad commentary that I am more terrified by the failure dream than I ever was by T-Rex.

It's been about 4 months since I last had my high school nightmare. 4 months that have been characterized by margin that I've filled with sleep, painting, reading, jogging, hanging with my neighbors, actual conversations with my husband and a lot of laughing with my 3-year-old. 3 good months in which I've known God more fully and been more rested in Him than I can ever remember being. Months in which He has shown me more clearly who I am meant to be and begun to strip away the lies that I've let get in the way of that realization of my identity.

As I walk into this next phase, life after sabbatical, I do so slowly, yearning to hold onto the dearly bought lessons that I've learned over the past year, desiring strongly that my life would not be characterized by busyness or self-importance, but by listening, laughing and receiving each moment as one more chance to know my God better and to love those around me more fully.

I hope it will also be characterized by a distint lack of any high school calculus classes. I didn't like it then and I certainly want no part of it now.

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