I have barely slept these past 6 nights; I gave up my OTC sleep aids last week after hearing from my Physicians Assistant that the active ingredient, the same as what’s in a common allergy pill, may be linked with dementia. I’m not usually over-reactive to such news, after all, those studies are often unreliable. Then I had a very senior moment and my decision was made.
Several things occurred to me during the many many hours of sleeplessness:
- I remembered this website.
I’ve kept spiritually rooted and growing the past 6 months, but physically grappling with the practical aspects of being uprooted from our domicile of the past 20 years. Renovating, staging, selling, closing, buying, choosing, planning, sorting, pitching, packing, apartment hunting, interim moving, and storing all our worldly possessions for almost 8 months. Then doing it all in reverse in mid-January as my better half and I transplanted ourselves into what I have referred to as “our final resting place” — a wonderfully designed home where we hope to live until we die and go be with Jesus — in C’Ville. Texting a friend that I have been “sleepless in C’Ville,” she asked, “What’s that?” That is Charlottesville, Virginia, area code 22911. (Hoping the zip code is not indicative of our future here.) I will try to do better in the next 6 months by posting more often.
- I didn’t value the contents of all those boxes in storage. Until I had them back.
After 8 months they truly were outta sight, outta mind. Then one day I unpacked yet another unmarked boring box. Please, not more books…then my heart leaped for joy; teapots — my favorite teapots, shaped like a camera, an artist easel, a cowboy hat and saddle, a writer’s desk! Reflecting on this surprise, I realized how much I had loved many things in NOVA but had not really been missing them until I finally had them back, here in C’Ville. With every move, from Boston to NoVA to London, back to NoVA and now to C’Ville, Community Bible Study has been that one consistent thing that delights me and establishes me again in every new place. Kind of like Panera’s, no matter where you go, you know it’s gonna be good. CBS has always had a great Bible Study suitable for people in all denominations, from seekers to Bible Scholars. The stimulation and sheer fun in my new small group as we discuss and share what we each learned (or had questions about) from our weekly lesson, the level of love and care by my new leader and the quality of the lectures reminds me of what I had been missing!
- Being tired is cumulative.
That first morning after being awake from 3 am onward, I felt pretty great. I had used my awake time well and felt spiritually refreshed and almost overly joyful at the thought that God would make up the difference — and He did. I had an abnormally gracious attitude toward my husband as he grumblewarted putting together a lower-budget-but-very-cool piece of furniture to hold the mancave humongous TV. I did all the laundry, unpacked yet more boxes, tackled the “she-shed” closet, and on and on and on, all while keeping connected to the Vine and displaying a cheerful heart. I logged over 5.5 miles inside the house with all my busy scurrying around. I felt like the main character in Limitless — without the drugs.
That was then. Almost a full week of being sleep deprived has left me with wide swings of functionality over up and down days, uneven moods, and wondering if instead of preventing or slowing the possible onset of dementia, I will die of exhaustion. But I can now join the ranks of those who struggle nightly with insomnia and have empathy for them. We never know what another human has suffered — or is suffering, so be kind. And when we are suffering (depression, loneliness, feeling “less than” or a myriad of physical, mental or emotional conditions) unless we ask others to pray for us and share vulnerably, others won’t know what we are suffering thus depriving them of the chance to come alongside us. We all need each other.
- It’s often better to show up tired (or depressed, upset, overwhelmed or just looking like a haglet) to something redemptive, than not at all.
Again, I need you, you need me. I feel pretty unimpressive, unproductive, unsupportive as of late; being a doer and not doing it, is not my thing. But sometimes it’s enough to just show up. And be a recipient. This week, in particular, I have been so grateful to have been with other sometimes-weak-and sometimes-strong, faith-filled sinners like me. Different in age and interests except for our shared love for God, my new neighbors, and the women in my new church Bible Study, as well as my new CBS, have been a source of joy and encouragement. And they ignore the steamer-trunk sized bags under my eyes.
- But it’s also OK to cancel.
God doesn’t love me anymore when I do XY or Z to serve Him. Or any less when I don’t. He’s crazy about His kids. (I suppose He might enjoy us more or like us better when we are walking strong in faith.) But I don’t think He has anything but love and tenderness even to the most rascally of His children — especially when we are in a weakened state. Kind of like how I felt when one of my sons was sick with the flu. All that love just poured out toward him, even if he was a little pill when well. God has made the human body to feel pain as a warning signal to tend to our health, and He has created the sensation of tiredness to help us know we need rest.
So if I canceled my much loved Richmond MomsHooPray meeting this week due to exhaustion, God had those women and their HOOs covered. I am important to His work in the world but He is full of grace when I simply should take my weary self off the road and just stay at home!
That’s it. That’s all I got for now. I have just enough focus and energy to add an oh-so-funny audio, and a preview of a darn fine, well-acted new movie. Now I can cozy down — ready for a better night’s sleep.
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