13 August 2010

1:36 in the morning

I could not sleep the other night and so...no, that is not correct. 

I slept until 1:36 the other night and then I could not sleep anymore.  I sat bolt upright in bed, which is a bizarre phrase when you say it too much.  Bolt upright.  Bolt.  Bolted.  The very sharp snap of that word implies movement, purpose, determination, too busy to talk.

Those words should not apply to 1:36 in the morning.  1:36 in the afternoon, sure.  But 1:36 in the morning is a time I rarely see, so maybe I shouldn't be so decisive about the words that apply to it.  How would I know?

Bolt upright at 1:36 and no intentions of going back to sleep for awhile:  my body made that clear.  I tried deep breathing.  I tried deep breathing while praying, "Lord Jesus Christ {breathe in}, Lamb of God {breathe out}, have mercy on me {breathe in}, a sinner {breathe out}."

When I just typed that, I made typos that had to be fixed.  I had typed:  Lord Jesus Christ, Lamp of Dog, have mercy on me, a dinner.  Should I try theologically analyzing that?

I tried reading.

Planning my outfits for the rest of the week.

Cleaning the bathroom.

Writing a note to a friend far away.

And then.

I just gave up. 

I don't know why my body woke me up at 1:36, just to say hi and get an early start on the day. 

But I also don't know why I decided that I could trick my body into going back to sleep by doing a bunch of stuff.  I mean, after the deep breathing/praying failed {and I tried it for five entire minutes}, I just went into overactive mode.

This is, I hate to admit it, my response to a lot of situations.

When I run into a challenge, I try the deep breathing thing.  I try remaining calm.  I try to not focus on the challenge but to see the chink in the wall, the chink that will give me a foothold to get up and over, or the chink that will give me a different view than the one I'm so focused on.

And as I'm doing all that, I pray.

I pray by writing, and I pray while running.  I ask for the ability to deal with a difficult person without screaming at them, as I'd really, really like to do.  I ask for forgiveness for my selfishness, and I ask for a heart of forgiveness towards others.  I ask for strength and courage to serve God with gladness and singleness of heart.

And then.

The apparent slowness of the keep calm and carry on timeline makes me bolt, and I'm in overactive mode.

This is when I make pro and con lists, and my journal entries turn from prayer to bullet points and action items.  I forget about forgiveness and how the Golden Rule is a really effective way to approach every day, especially when you factor in John 15:9:  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.

I just do and push ahead.

That idea didn't work for me at 1:36 in the morning.  The only thing that worked was laying down in my spare room.  I got a change of scenery, and I went back to the deep breathing/praying thing.

The next morning, I woke up to the alarm singing in my bedroom, just next door, and I thought about this very obvious object lesson while I brushed my teeth:  Unexpected stuff happens.  This is just simple truth, and if it weren't true, life would be rather dull and we wouldn't have much to talk about except our agendas and plans that we all know will work out.

The unexpected stuff can freak us out, and we can try to deal with it in our own special way, ways that may involve snarky comments or passive-aggressiveness or full-out aggressiveness {perhaps speaking from personal experience}.  Sometimes, this dealing can even make things a whole lot worse.

And then.

We get a perspective shift on whatever is happening.  We find the ability to take a step back and stop trying to control and manage.  We calm down.

I, of course, don't have a formula that gets you to that perspective shift place.  I'm the girl who cleans her bathroom in the middle of the night when she can't sleep and then writes philosophical about the experience; I don't think I should be the authority on dealing with the unexpected challenges.

I can only say that the perspective shift happens a lot at a transition time.  Like when I first wake up, or right before I go to sleep.  Or on the way to work or while stretching after a run.  It's those times when I'm moving towards something else and when I'm not thinking about what I should be doing; that's when I have my moments of "Oh, so I guess I can handle this."

The problem doesn't mystically, magically solve itself at that point.  But the approach to the problem involves a lot more deep breathing and a lot less screaming.

And then there is rest.

1 comment:

  1. If you have those bolt out of bed moments feel free to send me a text. I generally answer since my sleep patterns are so erratic.



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