Monday, May 16, 2011

Sleeping Sickness

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Matthew 6:34

Some nights I crawl into bed a man so defeated by worry I’d give anything to be able to shut off my thoughts with the flip of a switch. See, there’s this little minion called The Dark Thing who lives in the cellar of my cerebellum, and when night comes he starts tap, tap, tapping on my brain with a hammer, loosing every memory of betrayal, loss and regret I’ve ever stored away in the steamer trunk of my mind and laughing maniacally as they carousel around my cranium. Sunlight is The Dark Thing’s only kryptonite, so when the dawn’s first rays flood my bedroom, he stops tapping and I finally power down like a Gameboy in need of two fresh Duracells.

Christ tells me not to worry about tomorrow, but tonight my heart hurts for Tessie, who softened it, and for the girl who will not break it, and for nana, who’s growing old, so old I’ll answer the same question nine times if it puts a smile on her face. I imagine a man of deep, unshakable faith finds tranquility in the Word of God even amid the night’s mental chaos, but I’m just not that man yet. There's still a war being fought for my soul, and it rages deep into the dark.

I run myself into the ground some evenings just so I'm so tired by the time I hit the sheets that there’s no sound in me but the thumping of my heart, no fury in me but the aching of my limbs. But this is just a physical solution to a spiritual problem: It's not easy to dispel tomorrow's worry and trust Christ in the calm of the moment.

Last winter the cold began to creep inside me and by an unrelenting downward pull I lusted after darkness. Some shade lost in the wilderness of loneliness and regret was rabid for my company, but into the confusion of my soul Christ let echo his voice: I am with you.

In the night when fear comes seeping in, there is only one defense against The Dark Thing: Inhale the regrets that haunt your past and the worries that lurk in your future in one great breath and, exhaling deeply, know that you are loved intensely by Christ in this moment.

God is love,