Early in my career I worked for one of the big, unionized
LTL carriers. I was in the management training program which meant working a lot of nights and weekends in the beginning. There was no such thing as a normal sleep schedule. But I was young and adaptable. When I had the chance to sleep, I went to sleep
quickly and slept hard. Sometimes I
would build up a big sleep deficit and on an off-day sleep 12 or 14 hours straight
But that was then, and this is now. And between then and now, sleep has become increasingly
difficult for me. Aches and pains and chronic
sinus problems do not lend themselves to long periods of sound sleep. And, of course, there are those frequent nighttime
trips to the bathroom which just seem to be part of getting old. Fortunately, I can usually go right back to
sleep and manage to cobble together 6 or 7 hours of decent sleep. Throw in a nap now and then and I’m OK.
That is, until I get sick. Sick people need rest and sleep. But when I’m sick, I’m too uncomfortable to
rest or sleep. Case in point, I recently
had a long bout with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). I was not terribly ill, never ran a fever or
had aches and pains. But just enough
breathing and coughing and wheezing to make sleep almost impossible for one who
has problems sleeping in the best of circumstances.
So for weeks now, my wife and I have been in separate
bedrooms. She asleep and me searching for
sleep. I’ve tried white noise, brown noise,
green noise. Meditative music. Reading until the words become a blur. I go sit in a recliner. I pile pillows up around me in bed hoping to
find a comfortable position. I watch You Tube videos.
I even talk to God, but mostly he talks to me. He has me pinned down. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and there is no
place to hide. I can’t even tap out and
go to sleep. God has loaded up You Tube
with messages. So has the devil, but I
seem to only be getting recommendations to listen to C.S. Lewis books and essays,
or Charles Spurgeon sermons, or James Earl Jones reading the Bible. Or sometimes it’s just two or three hours of
old hymns on a violin or cello. The Word
will not allow me to sleep until I have listened and confessed. The Word is breaking me down and building me
up; and there is nothing I can do about it.
It is grace and mercy for a sick old man who needs much more than just a
few hours sleep.
Should I give thanks for being sick? I think not.
God doesn’t make people sick. I’m
not putting that on Him. But He does
allow sickness and pain and loss in this life and does so for His purposes. This is a mystery we dare not attempt to
unravel. We can only give thanks that He is there with
us, wide awake and restoring our soul.