I officially desperately need to be asleep. And yet…here I am: down in the classroom in the Anderson lobby, laptop and speech materials and empty dishes and all. Why? Because I am a rebel.
Me? A rebel? The straight-As, rule following, don’t make ripples girl? Huh. You better believe it.
I rebel against all kinds of things all the time.
Tonight, though, I’m particularly rebelling against sleep. Which is a surprisingly frequent occurrence.
I’m not sure quite when I started hating going to bed. Because I don’t mean that nightly routine each of us perfected when we were young: Mom or Dad announced bedtime and we proceeded to argue that we weren’t tired and we couldn’t possibly sleep and that nobody needs sleep anyway and etc.. (For me, this routine included Dad telling me to look him in the eyes, and I knew that if I kept my eyes open he’d say that he could see in them how tired I was, and if I closed them that he’d say that I obviously was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. You just can’t win sometimes!) What I’m talking about is after I got over that and then suddenly found myself not protesting bed because of lack of exhaustion, but just protesting bed because of the idea of sleep itself—no matter how necessary I knew it to be.
I think maybe I’m not communicating well. That’s pretty typical for this time of night.
I remember, oh, a year ago? lying on the floor in the living room, desperately tired but resolved not to sleep. I think mostly because life was out of control and it seemed that the one thing I could control was whether I inhabited the world of wakefulness or sleep. Kind of a stupid reason to be awake. But most people seem to think that the teen years are marked by stupid decisions, and sometimes I live up to that.
I also remember two years ago, nights of lying awake, staring at the ceiling, terrified of what I’d see if I let sleep overcome me and dreams play against my eyelids. There were some doozy nightmares, especially as my world was consumed in words like ‘seizures’, ‘tumors’, and ‘brain surgery’. This kind of wakefulness makes more sense to me. Though why the human mind so fears nightmares that we know to be only fantasies is beyond my knowledge. (No, I don’t need someone to enlighten me. I’ve got more than enough on my plate just learning about geology and speech communication and Spanish and theatre and the New Testament and wellness.)
All that to say, I don’t really know when I started hating sleep. And I still don’t always hate it. Occasionally I’ll find myself in a place where I willingly fall into bed and close my eyes and drift off to sleep. Like last night. And the night before. But then nights like tonight come and maybe I worry people and maybe I worry myself and I stay up way too late battling exhaustion and accomplishing nothing except maybe a garbled blog post (and most nights not even that).
Some things defy explanation.
And sometimes that’s good.
Like when it comes to everything I ought to be studying for my New Testament exam tomorrow: the fact that the Son of God would humble himself to the point of incarnation and dwell in a crummy human body (that requires sleep) and live a perfect life in spite of temptations and then die an agonizing death and feel, for the first time ever, total separation from God, and that He’d do all that for me in all my rebelliousness. That defies all explanation.
Grace defies explanation.
Unconditional love defies explanation.
The fact that any of us are even still breathing defies explanation.
I don’t know how that really relates to anything. After all, it’s 12:37am and I’m sick and I’m tired. But I think maybe I’m ready to sleep. I always eventually reach this point: when my eyes really just require too much work to keep open and I have to collapse in surrender to the natural processes God instilled in my body.
Why do I fight God until the same thing happens? It’s so much easier to just submit than to fight until the fight has gone out of me and I have to surrender out of sheer inability to go on.
More things to ponder.
But be blessed tonight, whether you’re on a sleep strike or whether you’re the kind of person who is early to bed and early to rise and ridiculously cheerful upon both occasions.
All my love,