SLEEPLESS TONIGHT?

Do you have trouble sleeping? Sometimes I do. If there’s a lot going on in my life, or I’m worried about something, then I can lie awake, my mind buzzing with options and possible choices. But other times there seems no reason for my sleeplessness. Lying there, in interminable darkness, suspended somewhere between wakefulness and oblivion, I doze and jerk awake again, unable to surrender completely to much needed sleep. Time inches painfully forward, each minute an eternity. I look at the clock, expecting an hour to have passed, only to find that time has barely crept forward a few minutes. And the faintly ticking clock, usually too quiet to hear, pulsates like the beat of a steam hammer in a forge. A fox barking somewhere in the distance, or the throb of a car engine accelerating up the hill beyond my garden, yanks me awake again. Thick darkness presses down on my blank eyelids and buzzing ears. I try to focus on something boringly mechanical, like counting or reciting the alphabet backwards. Or soothe my mind by attempting to recite familiar Biblical passages, Psalm 23 or 1 Corinthians 13. Finally, as the sky begins to lighten, I succumb, and drift into a troubled sleep, to wake in the morning still heavy-headed and drowsy. Maybe tonight I’ll sleep better.

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