from the wisdom of the ancient King Solomon:
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eatâ€”
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Psalm 127:3, emphasis Macy’s
Recently, as Macy and I were snuggling into our own blankets on top of the made bed (this, by the way, is the best way to nap, in my opinion) – she under purple fleece with a reverse side of lady bugs and butterflies, me under the gold of Old Mizzou – I asked her if she needed anything.
“No. I know how to go to sleep. First, you just pretend to be asleep and then – you are!”
I have to admit, I take an odd sort of joy from the fact that I have four children and four excellent sleepers. Sleeping through the night in your own bed cannot be overestimated in terms of general sanity and life-giving rest. The first night I brought my first child home from the hospital, I put him in his own room in his own crib and I have rarely wavered from this stand. When life got a little more crowded and newborns were best served by sleeping in my room for a season, I moved them out as soon as it was possible. (And, yes, this usually meant a couple of nights of crying it out. I’m that mom. But I sleep well!)
One of my clearest childhood memories is of my dad standing beside my bunk bed (I had the top) teaching me how to go to sleep. I know he didn’t tuck me in every night because of his schedule, so I can’t imagine that this happened more than once. But I remember it perfectly (my version of it anyway).
“Close your eyes. Now starting at the top of your head I want you to make each muscle relax, like Jello. Soft and slow. First your neck. Now your shoulders. Do you feel it? Make them melt. Like your sinking into your bed. Now your arms . . . ”
All the way down to my toes. By the time we got there, I was almost gone. I’ve refined the technique over the years until now I can almost put my head to the pillow and be asleep just minutes later.
So when Macy shared her wisdom on how to fall asleep, I felt proud. I don’t know if I’ve ever specifically coached her like Dad coached me, but she figured it out.
Think I should patent our method? I know it’s probably easier when you are a kid – when responsibilities and pressures are quieter and smaller. But maybe this is another reason God refers to us as his children. Maybe we should act more like it at bedtime. Reminding ourselves of his provision and the uselessness of our worry.
I know so many people who have trouble sleeping. For all of them (and maybe for you), I pray the rest of the beloved.