A Sleepless Night With Anxiety
The night is hurtling towards the early morning hours but I lie awake with my mind spinning. A sleepless night with no distractions is my enemy. I push away memories like ping pong balls in my head, only to have them return, jolting, distorted, as soon as my body begins to relax.
And so I seek desperately for a solution to an unsolvable problem. My heart aches and my mind turns round and round for a resolution, an answer, relief, but there is none. Time (and work) heals all wounds, but I am impatient. I am tired of feeling.
My husband touches my elbow. I am pulled back, as if from outer space, to the present moment. To a half-asleep caress. To a bed, with soft pillows and warm blankets. We have so much. Our home is quiet and at peace in this moment. For now, the past is blown away in the sound of a stormy wind. I am sheltered in a warm home.
As the wind picks up, a whimper from the little one’s room turns to a wail. After a moment, I go to her. She settles immediately, like she just missed me. We rock a little while in our hand-me-down rocking chair. The stuffed and faded arms are scratchy, and it squeaks softly with each rock.
Soon her weight is limp in my arms, her fat, velvety cheek squished against my chest. I rock slower, then I stop rocking.
A verse settles in my mind. Be still and know that I am God.
She smells like milk and cookies, and feels as warm as toast. I breath in the moment. Then I lay her down in her crib and go back to bed. And there they are, still — all my worries. There on the bed, waiting for me, in a heap. Kids, marriage, job, money, home, parents, health, the state of the world, the state of myself.
Is everything going to be OK?
Some questions have no answers. The wind rattles the windows. I can see the tree branches shaking against the hazy moon. The ground will be littered with them in the morning, if they’re not strong enough.
Be still, be still, be still…
All things work together for good.
In this moment, the words are lost in translation. They do not make the journey from my head to my heart. But I believe they are true, nonetheless. So I wait. I endure.
I focus on five things I can see, four things I can feel, three things I can hear, two things I can smell, one thing I can taste. I ground myself in the night. I count my breaths. I say another prayer. The same prayers, again and again. Then I listen. I remind myself that the silence does not mean that I am alone. The wind dies down. And before the sun rises, I sleep.
Follow this journey on Mercy in the Madness.
Getty image via nadia_bormotova