I'm an insomniac. Not by choice, of course. Who'd actually choose to toss and turn each night, trying to find that one magical position that would allow the body to be comfortable enough to shut down? For as long as I can remember I've shared a bedroom with someone who could turn out the light, close her/his eyes, and be gone. I've never been able to understand how the trick to falling asleep as soon as the head hits the pillow. My sister, L, whom I shared a room with growing up, could actually talk in her sleep, so even when I was still awake and telling her the secrets of my life, she was happily snoozing. Sometimes I'd tell her she wouldn't remember our conversation the next day (and she didn't!), but most of the time I simply talked to her as she slept. That was fine with both of us--my secrets were clearly safe with her!
This didn't quite work once I married the Beve because I actually wanted his attention when I was trying to tell him something. Odd, huh? Many times in our early years, I'd ask, "Are you still awake?" and when he didn't answer, feel a little hurt that he could manage to fall asleep when I was pouring my heart out. Sigh. I no longer try to engage Beve in real conversation when he gets in bed. And, to his credit, he doesn't try to talk to me when he's bright eyes and raring to go at dawn (Have I said 'thank you' to you lately for this, Beve?) But sometimes I've asked him how to fall asleep quickly, and he says, "Just close your eyes and stop thinking." STOP THINKING??? How in the world does a person stop thinking? I don't even know what that means. My brain runs faster than my fingers on this keyboard, faster than my feet have ever run, jumping higher and wider than Olympic athletes. There is no off button, as far as I can tell. And I've tried everything. Tried thinking of nothing--yes, I mean, literally lying with my eyes closed, thinking, "nothing, nothing, nothing," until I got bored with repeating the same word over and over, and somehow ended up listing all 23 of my grandparents' grandchildren, their children, etc. Or trying to remember the name of some movie with that doe-eyed boy that had the song, "Me and Bobby McGee" in it.
Or the distance between here and Antarctica...you know, really important things.
You see my problem. And I'm not one for counting sheep--not that that has ever worked! What I actually do, when a night is really bad, like last night, when the clock moves ever more exorably toward dawn, is think through the Bible. Try to think of a verse from every book in the Old Testament, or every chapter of the New. I've been memorizing scripture for a long time, so it's piled up inside a card catalogue in my head. Or I try to recite the book of Phillipians or Colossians. These are good habits for me, they make the Word living and active in me, as Hebrews 4 says, sharper than any two-edged sword...
Last night, at about 2:30 or so, I decided to play the Alphabet game with God's Names and attributes.
A--Almighty, Alpha, Amazing, Awesome
B--Beautiful, Big, Bread of life
F--Father, Fountain, Fortress
G--Great, Glorious, God
I--Infinite, Intimate, Indescribable (which is pretty funny when you think about it...)
L--Lord, Lovely, Limitless, Lion, Lamb, Love, Life
M--Mighty, Matchless, Majesty
N--New, Near, Name above Names
O--Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omega
P--Powerful, Peace, high Priest
Q--Quiet (okay, so I had trouble with Q)
R--Redeemer, Righteous, Royal, Rock, Resurrected
S--Savior, Strong, Spirit, Shepherd
T--Truth, Trinity, Triumphant
W--Warrior,the Way, living Water
X--eXtraordinary, eXtravagant, eXciting (ok, so I hedged here!)
It's not exhaustive, my list--either in making me sleepy, or in listing all of what our Matchless, Amazing, Glorious God is. But I'd rather count Him than sheep any day (er, make that night!).