Tania burrows under the blanket in the back of the station wagon. Dad’s voice follows, mocking, “Look how close to the edge we are! See the waves crashing down there? I’m driving this close so you can see God’s beautiful creation. Ooooo, maybe we’ll go over the edge! Scaredy-cat!”
The car picks up speed. She pictures the road carved into the cliff on this familiar yet hated drive. Deception Pass Bridge waits just beyond the curve. Suddenly Mom screams. Tania pushes the blanket off, sees nothing but blue sky ahead. A sensation of flying—then the car tilts. Waves, frothy white around jagged rocks, rush upwards. Her stomach lurches. The optical illusion vanishes—it’s the car that’s hurtling down. The front fender parts the ocean surface. Murky green pushes against the car windows. Retreating beneath the blanket like a homebound turtle, she screams, “It’s real this time! It isn’t a dream. Oh, God, save us!”
Breathless, Tania came awake. Frantically she clawed at the tangled quilt. Her hand slipped and thwacked on Dooley’s shoulder.
“Umph! Whazgoin’ on?” Dooley mumbled. “Why’re you hittin’ me?”
Tania drew in quivering breaths, puffed out air.
“That…dream…again…Deception Pass…not making the curve…”
“Oh, babe,” Dooley was fully awake now. “That’s the fourth night in a row. I’m sorry this is so frightening for you.”
“I know. I want to look forward to the women’s retreat up in Big Bear. Yesterday the retreat director called and asked me to provide some dramatic skits. I really want to do that. But I gi-normously dread that drive.”
“At least the road doesn’t go along the coast.”
Even in the dark Dooley knew she was giving him the look.
“Going over the cliff’s edge is not my idea of fun regardless of where the crash happens, Dooley. Besides sometimes the dream isn’t near the ocean at all.”
Switching on the light, she sighed, “I don’t remember what came first, my fear of heights or Dad scaring me. It was supposed to be a treat, visiting family on Whidbey Island, or driving up Mt. Baker Highway to picnic at Artist’s Point. I’ve forgiven him for tormenting me so why does this keep coming up? I’ve about had enough of it!”
The nightmare sometimes came out of the blue but always when a road trip required negotiating mountain terrain. Dooley circled his arms around his shivering wife and pulled her close.
“Lord,” he prayed, “Tania wants freedom from this fear. Please show her the key to unlock the chains. And help me to be the husband she needs.”
The prayer echoed in Tania’s heart as she sat at her computer. In her writing exercise she’d told a familiar Bible story from an unusual viewpoint, that of the stone David used to slay Goliath. The stone, hearing David’s authoritative words to Goliath, thrilled to be the weapon of that mass destruction “used in faith to conquer such a foe and for such a hero.”
“Dooley,” Tania said handing him the dessert plate after dinner. “I’m a stone!”
“What’d you say you put in these brownies?” Dooley laughed.
“You goof! No, God is using me as a stone to defeat the mocking enemy. I think that’s the key. Will you be my hero, Dooley, and take a stand against the enemy for me and with me?”
“Of course, my darling damsel in distress,” Dooley said.
Kneeling by her side, he prayed, “Lord God, we stand in your authority against Satan, who attacks Tania with mockery and fear. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Lord God Almighty, we send you, Satan, to the foot of the cross. We know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, but the battle is the Lord's. He has defeated you at the cross and that is where you must go. Tania has forgiven her dad for his part in this and you cannot use that against her any longer. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
“Amen! You are truly my hero, Dooley.”
Dooley grinned, “How about we take a trial run up to Big Bear this Saturday. I’ll ride shotgun.”
“Alright! I need measurements of the stage area anyway. We’ll put in a Third Day CD and take a picnic lunch.”
The Saturday excursion proved successful; the nightmare never invaded Tania’s dreams again. Over the years folks have seen her confidently driving up and down the mountain roads rocking out to praise music.
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