Ever get so tired that you can’t sleep? Get to the point where your body is exhausted beyond anything you ever thought possible and you literally crawl into bed and then just lie there and stare at the ceiling?
Me, too. As a matter of fact, I’m doing that right now.
I just looked at the clock—3:12 a.m. Which means if I fall asleep right this second, I’ll have two full hours of rest before I have to get up and get ready for work. Not bad, I figure. I can do that. Not ideal, of course, but I’ve gone on less.
Sleep, I tell myself. But I don’t. I just lie and stare.
I’ve heard some theologians have stated that 3:15 a.m. is a pretty strange time of day. A thin place, they say. When we’ve gotten enough sleep (or lack thereof) and our minds reach a point where they’re more apt to ponder the deeper things in life. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I have to say it is in this particular case.
Maybe it’s the silence, a quiet that’s so loud it’s nearly deafening. Aside from the occasional hum of the refrigerator down the hall and the rustlings of two children in the beds next door, it’s as if the world has gone away. Nothing exists but me and the ceiling, and since there is nothing outward for my mind to latch onto, it moves inward to those places seldom visited.
Is that why people seem to have a distaste for quiet nowadays? Why they always have to have something on? Because it keeps them focused outward and safely away from their insides?
Yes. I think so.
I’d have more time to ponder my insides, I think to myself, if I had a little less to do. Which steers my thoughts to what the coming day will demand of me, which steers me toward figuring out a way to get it all done.
There’s work, of course. My job. Lots to do there. Busy day coming. Busy day yesterday. Busy year.
Blog post to write. Gotta get that done. Can’t get behind.
Is today the field trip? Or tomorrow? Did my daughter study for her test? She did, right? I think I remember that. Did I pray that she’d get a good grade? She asked me to. Yes. I did. Right?
Grass is getting tall. Gotta mow. Is there gas in the can?
And then there’s an idea for the next book I’m writing. And another idea for a book later on. Can’t forget that. Where’s my notebook? Did I leave it at work?
They’re voices, all of them. Screaming at me all at once and begging for my attention. And I realize that even at three o’clock in the morning, I’m busy. That there is so much to do and my life has become so hectic that I equate sleep and rest to laziness and apathy.
And I realize this, too: I can’t do it anymore.
The busy, I mean.
It’s an unfortunate sign of the times that we equate success and progress to how much we have to do and worry about. The busier we are, the more we’re doing. And the more we’re doing, the more useful we’re being. Right?
Yes, I want to say. Because now is not the time to stop, not even the time to slow down. This are not mere days, I tell myself. No, these days, these times, are The Dream, the culmination of years of work and tears and prayer. This isn’t the time to rest, this is the time to keep pushing.
Right? It’s a question said not to myself, but to the ceiling. And not really to the ceiling.
And there in the silence of my bedroom comes a whisper, one spoken from nowhere and everywhere.
No, it says.
Wrong, it says.
You didn’t get here. I brought you here. You worked, but I moved you. You dreamed, but I breathed life into them. It’s from Me, by Me, and for Me. So let Me. Don’t run ahead, don’t lag behind. Walk with Me. Right here with Me.
I wonder—is it that easy? Is that all we have to do? Trust and walk and obey? Can our rest do more than our work if our rest is in Him?
That is all the whisper says and all I hear.
And in the silence and the darkness, I sleep.