When the lights go out at night, no matter how tired I am I end up lying there and my brain won’t shut down. I envy those who can lie down, put their head on the pillow and simply sleep. If that is you, I want you to know how lucky you are, you probably take it for granted don’t you? Not me, I lie there in the darkness and I think. It’s probably got a lot do with the fact that I don’t often have time in the day to think, and I am generally a night person who is forcing myself to go to sleep earlier, but it doesn’t matter why I do it, what matters is that I do.
What do I think about you ask? Well, I think about the past, friends gone and laughter shared, or I dream of the future and all the things that life still has left to unfold for us as a family. Those are the nights that I lie awake for a time and then without realizing it I am asleep and dreaming. Those are the nights I enjoy.
There are times though, like the last few weeks when I dread bed time. I know that come ten or eleven I will put my head on the pillow and lie awake in the dark, dread and fear will be my companions. Those are the nights that even exhaustion won’t allow me to sleep because I know that if I sleep I will dream scary dreams. Dreams that I just can’t face. Like a monster in my closet they wait to prey on me in my slumber. The monster breathing down my neck is fear, I know that, I rationalize it before I sleep, but like a child afraid of what hides under her bed, I lie there listening to the deep breathing, I can see the red glowing eyes and my heart races because this time I can’t tell myself the monster isn’t real. This time, I can’t call out for my parents to come and make the monsters go away.
So, I stay awake, my eyes so tired and sore that my head starts to hurt and not until I know that I will really sleep this time do I allow myself to go upstairs, to rest my head on the pillow in the dark room. It gets later every night, I fear it won’t stop.
I try to make believe, I imagine a place like neverland where I can go and hide and play forever with Tim, Josh, Kaleb and the lost boys and never grow up. Never face the monsters hiding in the dark. In this way I think Josh is lucky to be so young, he is simply too young to understand the monster breathing down his neck, he simply crawls into bed with his numerous animals, kisses us good night, and closes his eyes for another day.
In the morning, things look different, I find hope and peace and a way to get through another day seeing all the little blessings and miracles that befall us. I watch Josh laugh and bug the dog and his brother and I can see the future as bright as ever. The light permeates my soul and I am able to enjoy knowing that I am held in safe arms, I am embraced and I have been heard by my maker. I see Kaleb picking on Josh in the way that only a younger sibling can, and I see Josh get frustrated with him in the way only an older sibling can and I know that the pages have been written. Josh is an older brother, Kaleb is youngest. That won’t, can’t change…
but then the night comes, the light disappears and the monster returns…