When I was nine to ten I struggled with insomnia.

School was stressful and my antidote to the stress was to obsess about getting enough sleep. The more I obsessed, the less sleep I got…

Because of The Man in the Nightmare.

I had a recurring nightmare that I was being stalked by a man in a junkyard. The worst part was not that I faced this dream nightly, nor was it that it was the only dream I ever had with a smell associated with it–thick, cloying scent of flowers–no. The worst part was that if I fell asleep and had the dream and awoke from it in a cold panic, I knew that he would be there again if I fell back to sleep.

We are not afraid of the dark. We are afraid of what is in the dark.

I say all this because my “insomnia” resumed four years ago when I found out that a family member had violated the safety and trust of our home.

Nothing like finding out that you have let a flaming felon live in your house to make a body skittish.

But insomnia is not something I fear anymore. Mostly because of God, and partly because of the internet.

Now when I cannot sleep at a “normal hour” I read or write or talk to other late-nighters.

Tonight one of the night wakeful was my own child, grieving and broken over our family story and the real wounds inflicted upon her directly.

I stayed up with her. We talked about the hard stuff, and then I started reading her jokes.

So there you have it. Up late? Worried? Grieving? God is wide awake, bigger than the bad guys in our recurring nightmares.

There, always there, the kindest of listeners. Lulling us to sleep past the crisis with laughter and stories and the promise of one day.

One day comin’

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