The time between knowing you should go to bed and your very best work.
It’s the middle of the night in New England but I am at the Daytona 500. My menopausal self awakens and discovers my body in our overheated bed. It’s no longer warm from our laps around the track. Instead I am flush red, and there’s a pit crew in my head, taking the blankets on and off as fast as they can. The flurry of activity finally helps me cool down and get back on track to sleep.
I am dreaming of the finish line although there are hundreds of laps ahead. I want this race to end, so I can earn the trophy back.
Everything must be just right. Like Goldilocks would determine but at a meaner, faster pace.
While everything seems cuddly and perfect, there also has to be a submission to my ways.
I push, then pull at the soft outer covering.
A right cross is necessary.
My opponent doesn’t respond.
I push away again but then needingly pull it back into my body. We are, after all, very close.
I look down and feel it just wasn’t enough. I add two swift punches to its center.
We seem to understand each other now.
There is a yielding to my superior force.
I lay next to my soft, cuddly, now beaten companion. The aggression is a needed part of our otherwise orderly life together. The beatings keep it that way.
I’ve made my impression…
and I do realize I enjoy it.
Goldilocks would be proud. A women, in the house, with the ability to fluff her pillow until it is just right.
I don’t usually sleep on the train but sometimes I force myself to take a nap and shut out the busy day and people around me…
I close my eyes and listen to the comings and goings as I drift off to lala land. The end of conversations from the new arrivals are an eavesdropping point of interest, as they find their seats away from one another. The train whistle I’ve learned to drown out is a welcome charging sound into my dream. The train rumbles over the crossings and I enter into New York City’s polar opposite, the city that always sleeps. It’s a great place to spend time. I never know who I’m going to meet or what we’ll talk about in our bustling little world.
My subconscious helps me relax and tells a story just like the one I drifted from…
I’m an auditor by trade. Risk assessments, critical paths and determining “worst case scenarios” are what I do best. This Monday morning, after deciding for the first time to get additional rest on the train (despite coming off a 4-day weekend), I determined my worst case scenario was falling asleep on the commuter rail. It’s a very safe environment and I was riding to the end of the line. Being compromised or missing my stop were low risks and therefore, not a concern.
In hindsight, one can always learn from these types of drills. I’ll start with the positives: fellow commuters let you do your own thing and respect your space, neck pillows really are comfortable for resting in transit, moms watch out for one another. On the flip side, I did not wake up when I hit the end of the line. Lessons learned for next time (if there is one) include setting an alarm for the trains scheduled arrival, being coherent enough to thank the last departing passenger (an Asian mom with two in tow) for waking me up and doing a sleep study to determine if I snore.
After wiping the sleep from my eyes and buying my monthly pass at North Station, I picked up the rainy green line for a straight shot to the office. I was pulled from my novel landscape when the one I was sitting in came to a standstill at Park Street. My powers of observation told me it was a disabled, wheel-chair bound man trying to make his way onto the already crowded train. His path was more critical than my own as he told people where and how to step aside, so that he could maneuver his chair into the handicapped section of the subway car. He was headed to Mass General Hospital (MGH). My worst case scenario was nothing compared to this person having to navigate the underground during a rainy rush hour. My newest concern was for him and as far as trades go, I did not want to switch places with him.
Books are to be called for and supplied on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half-sleep; but in the highest sense an exercise, a gymnastic struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself.”
The middle of the night is lonely and frustrating. It can feel like nobody is there to help. Sleep, never mind dreams, isn’t an option.
One thing I learned this past year is I can pray for anything. I can pray for restfulness. I can decide to trust in the Lord and rid myself of needless anxiety.
I woke up in a stir last night and was wide awake again just before midnight. I didn’t want lack of sleep to impact my health in the morning. I reached for my faith first and tried to remember my daily devotional quote. They always make me feel better and help me talk to God.
I opened my eyes even wider when I realized I hadn’t read it before bed. Oh no! How can I be a follower if I cannot even take a few moments out of my day for refllection?! Now I really couldn’t sleep; in that moment I let myself down.
I’ve learned I need God in my life. Having Him by my side makes every day easier. The Holy Spirit works through me to help others. I know all of this…
…yet I ignored my Bible expecting the grace of a new day. It was unacceptable.
I climbed out of bed on my knees and reached for my devotional calendar.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you.”
My devotional calendar spoke to my moment and reaffirmed my faith yet again. It is relevant to all my days, thoughts, hopes and worries. This is Psalm 63.
I smiled amongst the darkness.
Calm washed over me and I relaxed.
I got the drink I needed and fell asleep.
You begged me to sleep
now you’re telling me there’s a time limit?
I beg to differ
now leave me alone or beg for mercy.
Maybe not a poem but my response to a recent challenge.
I used to think staying in bed on Saturday morning was the laziest thing anyone in this world could do.
Now I find myself doing it to write and decide I’m the most productive member of society.
I’m so tired I don’t have the energy to fall asleep……….