My phone vibrated on the nightstand at three am, jolting me from a fitful sleep. A text from my son: at Amsterdam airport, boarding soon. He had been traveling alone through Europe for a few weeks, staying in hostels with only a backpack and a 23-year-old sense of adventure. His trip abroad was just one of many thoughts coming between me and a peaceful slumber.
“Beware of thoughts in the night.” It’s a line that stuck with me from a book I read in college, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. “They aren’t turned properly; they come in askew, free of sense and restriction, deriving from the most remote of sources.” Yep. That’s for sure.
Our lives, and accompanying askewed thoughts, go through seasons. Natalie, my dear friend and co-creator of this blog, is a young mother with three children under the age of four. My children are in their twenties. We are both up at night worrying, caring, praying for our kids. I don’t have the heart to tell her it doesn’t get easier.
My sister chose not to have children, but she still has anxious thoughts in the night. They take a different shape but are none the less oppressive. My daughter’s fretful musings are those of a young, single attorney living in a big city. At 78, my mother has a lifetime of thoughts on which to ponder at night, in addition to those unique to growing old.
Do you have those nights, when the space between you and sleep is a landmine filled with dark thoughts that explode into heart-clenching, inconsolable terror? We know, even as tears spill on our pillow, that the sun will rise, and things will not look so bleak in the morning. In fact, the next day we may even laugh at the uselessness of all that self-induced drama.
I don’t know what struggles you are facing that may lead to sleepless nights. They may be bigger or smaller in comparison to my own. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is knowing that we aren’t alone. As I lie awake in the darkest hours worrying about my children, my parents, the election, the terrorists, and what’s for dinner, I’m oddly comforted to know that somewhere in the night, Natalie, my sister, my daughter, and my mother may be awake, too.
So I say this prayer for all of us, and for you. You’ll find it right before Philippians 4:8~ the verse that serves as a touchstone for this blog. The apostle Paul wrote it in a letter to some beloved friends more than 2,000 years ago, proving this worrying thing is nothing new. “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.” May the peace of God bring you sweet dreams.
~Think on These Things~