Night Shift


I can’t recall the last time I slept through the night, and I don’t have small children! Even prescription drugs (not Michael Jackson strength—yet) don’t help. Three bouts of cancer, a bone marrow transplant, an auto accident and seven surgeries have recalibrated my circadian rhythms.

I didn’t choose these calamities but I get to choose how I respond. Here are three things I do:

Talk to myself – Most days it’s hard to have a decent internal dialogue. Too many interruptions; too much background noise. Volleying an idea between hemispheres is harder than sustaining a rally against Rafael Nadal. But in the dark I can leisurely bounce it off the wall like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape until I catch something I can use.

Listen for God – I say listen for God, not listen to God, because I haven’t heard another voice in the nocturnal silence. I have thoughts I assign to God or assume he’s prompted, but it’s not a two-way conversation. Still, I listen—and I remind God I’m listening—because I believe he speaks and I’m hopeful he will do so to me one of these nights.

Pilot my dreams –When I sleep, my dreams are on autopilot. If I’m semi-awake, I can quietly slip a hand onto the controls. In this ethereal landscape I can ride the thermals like a glider. The currents rule the air but I can make some tweaks to better enjoy the scenery.

Insomnia advice, and this is important: do something about your night musings the next day. Write down the insight, act on the idea, answer that email, call the creditor, do lunch, clean up your in-box, garage, hard drive, basement or desk, back off at work, speak up at church, get with the person who needs to hear you say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you.”

Make the most of these golden hours; they are a precious if sometimes unwanted gift.

Check out the important role the Pineal Gland plays in a good night’s sleep.

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2 thoughts on “Night Shift

  1. Thank you Mike for giving voice to the wrestling and longing of your soul. For those of us who are not as eloquent, it helps to decode our own struggles. May God speak clearly one of these nights.

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