my writings and thots

Insomnia

It’s that dreaded thing that I never really understood until about 3 years ago. I used to wonder how people could just lie in bed and not fall asleep. One of those blessed with the ability to close my eyes and drift off within minutes on most nights, I didn’t really ‘get’ it when people could come to breakfast, red-eyed and looking dazed. When people complained of not being able to sleep, it didn’t register just how serious a need sleep even is! Yes, I was sleep deprived with my little babies, but that’s more of a natural course of life, not a ‘condition’.
Now, I’m the red-eyed zombie from time to time. What is it that keeps us awake in the wee hours, or that prevents us from falling asleep to begin with? Why does my inner alarm go off at 5AM and let me go back to sleep five minutes before my actual alarm goes off? It comes without warning and so often before I need to ‘perform’ in some way the next day, leaving me drowsy and spaced out before I’m able to prove that I do, indeed, know what I’m talking about…really! Some days, as teacher, they catch me making mistakes in teaching them (how embarrassing is that?!?), other days, as student, my teacher gets on my case, telling me to use my brain and concentrate (brain? what brain? it went on a long walk last night and hasn’t returned yet!).
Now that I realize that it’s not really a ‘faze’ I’m going through (after 3 years, I’m finally getting the hint), I pretty much know what to do when the bugle sounds in my head at odd hours of the night–I pray. I pray and I ask the Lord, “why?”. No, not in that tone of voice, but as in, “why is it I need to be awake right now?” Some nights, meditating will take me to the Place of Rest where sleep is never far. Other nights, I think of everyone I need to pray for and after I’m done, sleep no longer eludes me. Sometimes, a glass of wine does the trick, or counting my blessings instead of sheep. It helps if I don’t get into long, complicated conversations or meetings too close to sleep time (or if I have to, I try to make a ‘buffer’ time where I listen to an audio or read something relaxing). I avoid turning the light on at night or if I must, I just use a pen light, etc. Other times, I just need to shut down my overactive mind–‘now, you’re going to regret this tomorrow, you don’t need to worry about Charlotte’s personal plans for the future, Jordan’s newest bruise, Cherise’s grades, if you’ll go gray in the near future, or any of the rest of it!’
Then, there are times when my insomnia is a gift. Yes, I did say that out loud, gasp! The Lord showed me once that there are times I can’t sleep because He wants that time with me alone. It’s quiet, I don’t have to interrupt my thoughts of Him and Him alone with all the competing daily ‘noise’. There is so much chatter in everyday life, stories that need to be told, hearts that need to be shared, opinions that need to be aired, boo boos that need to be tended to. But at night, ahhhhh, now that’s when it’s really quiet (most of the time anyway), it’s a precious time with my Lord when we can commune heart to heart, when I get answers to my questions and peace to my heart. Interestingly enough, when I am awake at night like that, I’m not all that tired the next day. It’s like He gives me the strength and stamina to make it through which is great compensation. I might have to go to bed a tad earlier, but it’s not nearly as bad as being awake because I’m a worry wart.
So yes, there is always a silver lining to every situation.

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