When Insomnia Strikes
Yeah, I know, it’s 4:00 in the morning. I can’t sleep. This is something that’s new to me–insomnia. It’s something I’ve dealt with from time to time since starting chemotherapy.
Sleep comes easy in the evening. By 10:00 or 11:00 I’m ready to call it quits and, after my nighttime routine, sleep arrives on my doorstep in a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds. But then it happens. Sometime during the night, in the early morning hours, I awaken to empty my ostomy “appliance.” And I lose it–sleep, that is. It’s like a butterfly I have to hold gently in my hand because I don’t want to harm it, but if I hold it too loosely, it’ll escape and fly away. Most of the time I can pull it off and drop back to sleep. Occasionally, though, that butterfly slips through my fingers and I lose it. So rather than lie there and stare at the inside of my eyelids while my mind churns a hundred miles an hour, I decide to get up and do something. If you’ve ever seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite, Uncle Rico’s voice echoes in my head: “You might as well do somethin’ while your doin’ nothin’.”
So here I am, sitting at my desk beside an open window. It’s a cool morning, the sky is as black as ink and the house is quiet save for the hum of the fan in the room. Nothing stirs outside. No cars cruising by, no neighbors mowing lawns, no dogs barking. It’s that peaceful still before the dawn of day when the world awakens to tackle another box on the calendar.
I’m tired yes, but questions in my head keep me awake. Questions about chemo this week, about how bad the side effects will be this time and how long they’ll last. Questions about my book, if people will like it, how it will sell, what more I can do. Questions about my future, what it will hold, how it will all play out, what God has in store. And questions about my convictions, my heart, exactly where it is, what God is calling me to do, and if I have the fortitude to follow Him wherever He leads regardless of what others think or expect and in spite of my own fears and plans.
Heavy stuff for 4 a.m.
But really, isn’t this the perfect time to be alone with my thoughts and my God? No distractions, no agenda, no expectations.
Just me and my anxieties, being still and finding God somewhere in all this.