I just posted a status update on Facebook that said, “Some nights just aren’t for sleeping these days.”  One of my favorite people “liked” it within seconds of posting.  One of the discussions surrounding social media is that it’s not truly “social” in the strictest sense of the word.  While I tend to agree that virtual friends alone can’t stave off loneliness, I found a lot of comfort in my friend’s “like” and that it came quickly and made the night feel a little less lonely.

I also thought about how one of my biggest messages to my clients and friends centers on the importance of sleep.  Earlier tonight as I climbed the stairs to head to bed, I gave my youngest daughter a quick lecture about needing to sleep in spite of the looming AP Euro test and included a time management end note for good measure. And yet here I am at 12:49am on a work night, after a work day, before a week’s worth of work ahead–sleepless.

Another thought came across my mind.  How many times are we awake when the world is sleeping and it’s for a good reason, a healthy reason?  There’s birthing a baby.  Yah, a couple of my sleepless nights over the years were for that miraculous, marvelous, life-giving/life-changing reason!  Then there’s the all nighter’s we pull for work or school-tests, procrastinated-over projects or papers that might on some level be enjoyable.  But would we enjoy them more without the added stress of a last minute rush? There’s also the quietness of the night.  Now that one might have some merit!  Except for the drone of the dishwasher and the ticking of the battery operated clock on the wall, it is silent.  That’s nice.

Lately though I’m experiencing so many more hours of sleeplessness–Not always in the comfort of my living room, computer in my lap and a cup of tea in my hand.  Rather I’m staring at the clock or the ceiling, trying to lie still, to make no sudden noises that might startle or wake my precious husband who needs healing deep sleep.  In these times the silence is not comforting or peaceful. It’s cold and Einstein’s theory of relativity reinforces the inverse of how time flies when you’re having fun. Instead time hangs in the silence gathering momentum until soon the tiniest sound, amplified by the weight of the sadness or worry or fear I carry at that moment, bangs and clangs in my ears like so many gongs in a Lunar New Year Festival.  The worries and cares of the day and a thousand days to come slink past and creep in from every corner: Resources are scarce but the bills aren’t.  The kids aren’t grown up yet and what’s this world got for them?  What choices will they make?  Why do I think thinking about this right now, will be helpful?  I start to worry about worrying, then remember my mom’s mantra.  I hear her sweet wise voice say, “if you’re going to worry why pray and if you’re going to pray why worry.”– Her own paraphrase of Matthew’s gospel, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Tomorrow has enough cares of it’s own.”  But then I remember how much I miss her and my sweet daddy and the tears flow again.

So here I am–A naturopathic minister learning to practice what I preach.  It’s been a year-no two-or three–of learning lessons.  Here we go again!  And thank God I’m feeling sleepy! Sweet dreams!

Terri Shannon Renfro is not a medical doctor or licensed medical professional. She is not presenting information to substitute the advice and care of your physician or other medical or psychiatric professional. Please see the about us section of this site for more information about Dr. Shannon-Renfro's qualifications. These blogs are for educational purposes only. The opinions expressed here belong to Terri Shannon-Renfro or the author quoted and do not constitute treatment in anyway. Dr. Terri Shannon-Renfro does not diagnose, prescribe or treat any medical or psychiatric condition.