The idea of sleep...

God created us to sleep.

Other than sex this might have been the second oddest and greatest idea of God.

The sheer idea that we sleep almost 1/3 of our lives is shocking to take in.  It seems like such a waste of time, and yet I find myself looking forward to sleep intermittently throughout the day as my body and mind tires under the taxation of toil.  I imagine my head hitting the pillow and drifting off into a cozy coma.  The crazy thing about sleep is that when I do it well, I don't remember anything about it and it goes really fast.  The nights when I'm more aware of how long I've slept/dozed are the nights when my sleep is disturbed.  It is then I realize how much time I'm dead to the world, alone and doing nothing.

But I don't want to talk about sleeping, because I typically don't find myself sleeping deeply and soundly these days.  I never thought it would happen to me.  I remember by dad saying occasionally that he had trouble sleeping when I was a child and I recollect thinking to myself: "How is that possible?" To me, it was as simple as putting my head on a pillow and I was a goner.  And once I was out, neither height nor depth, nor angels or principalities, nor things present or things to come could separate me from the love of sleep.  I was overtaken, lost in the liminal language of dreams twitching in R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) which meant I was buried under layers of lucid loveliness.  I didn't realize the gift that deep sleep was until it slowly slipped away and I became much like my father, a "light sleeper".

Now I dream of being able to dream, being taken under so deeply that I lose track of time experiencing the fright of an alarm clock.  These days, I wake so many times before my alarm clock that it is a fixture of yesteryear placed by my bed next to my head in hopes that I'll need it.  It is hope.  Hope to experience sleep of the ilk I once enjoyed.  Occasionally I will truly be awoken by my alarm clock and those are blessed mornings.

Insomnia is the weapon of devils.  The foul voices that bounce about in the echo chamber of the sleepless soul can't be described.  They play off of a mix of fear, failure, fact and fiction braiding them together into a tapestry of terror.  Time creeps by so slowly that you feel the night will never end.  If you just knew that you wouldn't be able to sleep, you might just get up and watch television or head off to work early, but you don't know, so you try to sleep.  You think: "Maybe, just maybe, my fatigue will overcome my freakish feelings in the coming moments."  And you wait.  You count sheep.  You think happy thoughts.  You sing worship songs.  You pray centered prayers.  You quote Philippians think upon these things.  You take thoughts captive making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10).  Anything you can think of doing to find the serenity needed to "fall" asleep.

When these centering tactics don't work, you begin to wage war.  You decide to rise up and go on the offensive.  You start saying things in your mind like: "In the name of Jesus and by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony,  I command you to leave my presence."  You storm the gates of Hell with a water pistol.  You confess sins and renounce anything you can think of that might be giving the Enemy access to your bedroom.  You begin swinging your sword in hopes of landing some sort of blow, but you can't help but feeling like you're just flailing about like a drunk swashbuckler fighting pirates on a slippery deck.  You're about to go overboard, but you're not going over without a fight.  But the soul tires like the taut muscles of a wrestler spent after 6 minutes of unrelenting exertion.  That modus operandi doesn't last for long.

Anyway...I just wanted to talk about sleep.  Sleeping patterns.  Sleeplessness.  Basically, I want to recognize how vital sleep is to life and living.  I also wanted to appreciate the battle of insomniacs who wrestle with the darkness expending inordinate amounts of energy on things that by and large don't exist when the morning light breaks through the drawn curtains.

So there you have it.


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