I had a nightmare the other night that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since. When I woke up in the middle of the dream, I had that ‘otherworldly’ feeling and had to convince myself that it was just a dream and not real. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night as my mind kept wanting to go back and have it end happily instead of with a feeling of impending doom. When I let myself drift off again, I went back into the dream, but instead of it ending happily (no matter how I tried to convince myself to think that way), it stayed in that level of fear that comes with all music changes in horror movies.
In my dream, I dreamed that there was a figure, probably a man, that would come in and out of people’s lives and kill. I had worked with this man before. I knew him. I knew how easily he could hurt people and not have any remorse. He had tried to hurt me earlier and had caused me a lot of anguish and financial strain from which I was just beginning to recover. When I heard he was back, I knew that he was after me to finish the job he had started years earlier. In the dream, I remember hearing a gunshot and screams. There was a feeling of chaos and utter fear as we didn’t know where the killer was. We all tried to hide and went into a closet to hunker down to wait until the good guys came and stopped him. The good guys came and searched. They looked everywhere but the man was like a ghost and disappeared easily without getting caught. Then, after everyone else stepped out of the closet and I went to stand up, I felt a wisp of a breath on my neck and quickly realized that the man was right there behind me. I couldn’t avoid him anymore and I was next. I wasn’t going to get away this time.
That was when I woke up.
As I woke up and realized I was in my own bed, in my own bedroom and it was all a dream, I tried to put the dream into perspective. So, I tried to think of what was happening in my life that would take my mind along this path. I immediately knew who the man was in the dream. The ‘man’ in my dream was/is the IRS. Since receiving the letter in the mail about being audited again, I have been feeling a heavy weight of fear and impending doom. I am battling feelings of stress and fear like I’ve never known before. I just want to cry out and let everyone know that I am sorry — that any mistakes I made were because I’m a fraud! I don’t know what I am doing most of the time. I always feel totally incompetent whether it is in the financial matters, as a manager of the business, as a wife, as a mother, when I was a homeschooling mother. All of it seems to overwhelm me, and so I’ve learned to wear a mask and smile so that no one knows that what they see is just a fake shell and that the real me is an ugly, stupid, whimpering, whining mess of a person who is clueless.
This audit is the killer. It is the piece that will totally and utterly show everyone the real me. It will show that I really don’t know what I’m doing and that instead of speaking up sooner and finding someone competent, I have pulled my whole family down into financial ruin.
As I feel the wisp of the breath of the auditor right behind me, I feel complete fear. I am struggling to break away from the lure of the fear to turn to God. I have tried praying the St. Michael’s prayer to rid me of this feeling of evil trying to take over my life. I have prayed the Memorare but have found myself fumbling with the words as my focus is so hypnotically drawn back to the fear. I have never felt so alone and scared. Others are reaching out, but I know that ultimately, it comes down to me. I am the one who has kept track of the books and the finances. I am the one who is clueless but is just trying to do what is in front of me as it comes. I am the one who just does what she is told when she is told…. if I remember. I am the one who is ultimately responsible for the bill that will come from the IRS. And I have no doubt that there will be a bill. Our first experience with an audit 6 years ago showed me that. They will find something and that something will then be multipled exponentially due to time and finance charges/interest and it will lead to the demise of life as we know it. When we were audited before, it was with our first business and involved just the two of us. Now, it involves everyone who works for us. Their lives, our lives, our clients lives, the life of the business —- all of them are dependent on me not screwing up. That is where they will learn that I am really just a fraud and have no idea what I am doing.
The fear continues. The fear grows. The fear is with me every second breathing down my neck. Right now, as the darkness threatens to overtake me during this time of preparation, I am clinging to the thought that there may be a light somewhere at the end. I can’t see it now and the fear makes me think it isn’t really going to be there, but I need to cling to that hope.
The only glimpse of solace I have found recently that holds the fear at bay for a few minutes is the Prayer for Courage from St. Joan of Arc:
Dear God, give me courage for perhaps, I lack it more than anything else!
I need courage before men against their threats and their seductions.
I need courage to bear unkindness, mockery and contradictions.
I need courage to fight against the devil, against terrors, troubles, temptations, attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression and above all, fear.
I need Thy help, dear God! Strengthen me with Thy Love and Thy Grace!
Console me with Thy blessed Presence and grant me the courage to persevere until I am with Thee, forever, in Heaven!