Midnight Stream of Conciousness

It’s the busiest week of the whole summer — thirty-one hours at the agency, five hours of private tutoring, a job change over the weekend, then a cross-country trip to get the girls settled into their first apartment.  So why am I up at 1:00 am? Probably because it’s the busiest week of the whole summer — thirty-one hours at the agency, five hours of private tutoring, a job change over the weekend, then a cross-country trip to get the girls settled into their first apartment.

It’s exciting!  So much is happening!  But, guys, I really need some sleep!

Just one week ago I accepted an adjunct position to teach developmental composition and reading right here on our little campus by the river.  How much quainter could it be than walking down the path to the same classroom building where I studied English thirty years ago to teach down the hallway from one of my most esteemed professors?  It’s the stuff of dreams.

And the girls —  moving into an apartment together in Boston, each with a new adventure and all types of possibility. We’re loading up their belongings and helping them set up their next chapter one week from today!

We’re just off a weekend trip to see one son, his wife, and their precious daughter, and still smiling from a phone conversation with the other son earlier this evening. My husband is knee-deep in welcome week and loving the challenges and opportunities of his position.  We are living in the land of answered prayer.  So, why am I not sleeping?

It’s partly my fault.  I wasn’t going to take a 6pm student today, but I did.  That meant I didn’t get home until 7:30.  Then I ate dinner, talked to the family, watched some Netflix, and settled down to read around 10.  I read just one chapter, really, just one.  I turned out the light, tried to get comfortable, and willed myself to sleep.

Then, the details started marching through my mind — Don’t forget to book a hotel.  When are you going to give that student feedback on his essay?  Will you have time to put the package in the mail on Friday, or will it have to wait until Saturday? Oh, but Saturday is already booked, then again, so is Sunday.  It’s ok, you’ll have time to complete the syllabus before Monday morning.  You’ll have all the details ironed out for the first class.  Seriously, you’ve taught this stuff dozens of times.  You’ve got this.  But, wait, what are you wearing tomorrow? Will you have time to get gas?  Shouldn’t you be sleeping right now? 

After almost an hour of that, I got up, booked the hotel, managed some email, and read a little more.  Guys, I read pamphlets about safety on campus, and Title IX…  Surely that should put me to sleep, right?

I wandered back to bed, tucked myself in, closed my eyes, got in my most comfortable position, and then my eyes popped open insistently.


Well, you could blog, you know.  I mean, it’s been over a week.  Don’t you want to process all the things that are happening right now?  Document them? Give them an outlet?  You know you’ll sleep a lot better after you do. 

I’m trying to sleep here.

You could write about the fact that it’s the busiest week of the summer and here you are up in the middle of the night. 

Sigh. Alright, I’m coming, I’m coming.

It’s not terrible to be up in the middle of the night.  I’ve had a moment to recognize how blessed we are. I’m thinking I’ll wander back to bed now and give it another try.

Psalm 4:8

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I’m wide awake!

Today’s episode is brought to you by insomnia.  Additional funding is provided by autoimmune disease.


I do not have chronic insomnia.  I just can’t sleep sometimes.  I remember once when I was a little girl, probably only 11 or 12 years old, I was at summer camp and I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up my counselor (thoughtful, I know) and told her I couldn’t sleep.  She said, “That’s ok, just lie still so that your body can rest.”  I remember being frustrated as I “tried to rest” for what seemed like hours.  Since then, I occasionally am awake in the middle of the night.  Sometimes it’s because I have something on my mind.  On a few rare and blessed occasions I have been almost propelled out of bed by the need to write.  That’s exciting!  I wake up out of a sound sleep with an idea and I can’t seem to get to the keyboard fast enough. In those moments I have written lyrics, letters to my children, poetry, and yes, even blogs.

Tonight is not one of those nights.  Tonight I did wake up out of a sound sleep, but not with an intense desire to write.  Actually, I had an intense desire to go back to sleep.  It was 1:45am when I first looked at the clock.  Now it is 3:45.  I really did try to “just lie still so that my body could rest.”  I tried that for the first hour.  Then I got up and had a snack.  That sometimes helps.  My kids like to tell the story that when they were growing up they could always tell if I’d been up in the night because there would be a box of graham crackers sitting on the kitchen counter.  Graham crackers are magical sleep medicine — it’s true.  Since I’ve been gluten-free, I’ve had to resort to other snacks.  Tonight I actually toasted a gluten-free waffle.  I ate it, read some Facebook posts and went back to bed.  Again, I tried to “just lie still,” to no avail.

I finally said, “God, is there something you want to talk to me about?”  I was still for several minutes.  Cricket, cricket. “Ok, well, let me know if you change your mind.”

This wouldn’t have been a big deal a week ago.  If I was up in the middle of the night any time in the last eight months, I would just sleep late the next day.  No big deal.  But, guys, I am now a working girl!  The past two days I have had eight hours of training each day.  Both days I came home, put on pajamas, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed — exhausted!  So what am I doing up in the middle of the night!? I have no explanation.

But now that I am awake, my pain is keeping me from going back to sleep.  Since the weekend I have been having what I call a ‘flare’.  It is mild. Some flares have put me in bed for a few days.  This one is not to that level.  Those around me can’t even really tell that my symptoms have escalated.  As with most autoimmune diseases, my symptoms are mostly invisible to others.  I have psoriasis — but not in places that you can see.  I have eye irritation — but even eye doctors say that my eyes look fine.  I have joint pain — but xrays reveal no inflammation or damage.  I have the sensation throughout my body that I have been dipped in IcyHot.  Finally, I have fatigue.

But I can’t sleep.


I think I’ll go try again.  I will lie down, say a prayer, close my eyes and wait for sleep.  If it comes, I will rejoice.  If it doesn’t, I will grab a book and read for a while.  I know that eventually I will sleep.

Psalm 127:2

…He grants sleep to those He loves.