I woke this morning to my husband lying on his side, head resting on one arm, looking at me. I stretched out; waiting to come fully awake then asked why he was watching me. “How do you do that?” he asked. “Sleep so soundly, without worry keeping you up, fall asleep as if you have no fear, then sleep all night like one of the kids.” I had no answer. I have always been able to sleep easily. Anywhere really. Not the restless tossing and turning of many adults, but the deep slumber that hears nothing. We have always laughed how I’m like a baby in the car. I’m asleep before the end of the block, rocked to oblivion by the motion of a moving car. I’ve never been able to keep my husband company on a long drive, I’m too busy sleeping. I don’t usually drive on trips because I fear I could just as easily fall into a slumber in the driver’s seat as the passenger’s. Aside from the periodic times in my life when I’ve dreamed incessantly, and felt as if I lived two lives for a time, one in the day and the other in the night, I’ve woken early, well rested, and ready to do anything. The hallmarks of a morning person I suppose.
I never answered the question though, how do I sleep in this kind of peace. It was too early to think deeply and the coffee pot was kicking, making that awesome brewing noise that wakes you up before you even smell what it’s making for you. Shrugging out of the covers and leaving my bed for the day, I all but forgot his question. Already I was mapping my day, planning the breakfast and lunch menu’s, mentally listing the business calls I needed to make, ordering the chore line up for the crew of 4 kids we call ours but really borrowed from God. I stood in front of the coffee pot, willing it to finish so I could pour a cup without burning my hand, wondering if I went really fast, could I poor just the one cup without it finishing it’s brewing. How much mess would it make and would it be worth the clean up? No, I decided with not a little chagrin, I just waited the interminable 30 seconds more! Finally, with cup in hand I headed to the chair. You know the ’chair’. The one you long for when you’re away from home? The chair that may have seen better days, but fits your deriair like no other. The one you sit in for that first cup of coffee with your bible in your lap just glad for a new day. The one you wish you could stay in a little longer, but the rest of the world (or at least your house), knows where you are at that moment if no other for the rest of the day, and they come to find you before you feel finished. Yes, that’s the chair. Bible opened, coffee in hand, I read through my daily psalm, and started the first Chapter of Daniel.
At times throughout this day, I’ve briefly thought about my man’s question to me. How do I sleep like that? But even more, it’s made me wonder, why do I not feel the stress that I should be feeling right now? I’m very aware of the fiery arrows of the enemy bombarding me from all sides. I note the stress in my husband from a job he detests, but can’t leave. I note the turmoil in my family right now in the form of a wayward sister. I note nephews in foster care, and a mother and father who retired years back, but now face the possibility of raising two boys. I note memories of anger, resentment, disappointment and dysfunction, but with it all, I don’t feel the stress I would expect. Why? Am I numb to so much? Am I hardened to the feelings of others? Without much of a time lapse, I realize that it’s ‘no’ to both. I’m not numb; I feel real sorrow for the pain of others. I even feel sorrow for pain that I see some inflicting on themselves. But what I realize is that I’m living a habit now. When I feel that sorrow, I pray through it. I lift up the person in pain to God and I leave them right at the feet of His cross. I pray so much that I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to do it. I pray a conversation with my God so often that I don’t realize I’ve begun to pray, I just find that I am. God has answered my prayers in the peace He gives me. I know His love is greater than mine, and since God loves those I lift up to Him, then nothing outside of His will can touch them. They still have free choice as I do, but I know that what God wants for them is far greater than what I could even dream of wanting for them. In that, I know peace. In that peace I send my kids out into the world, in that peace I tell my husband I love him when he leaves in the morning, in that peace I speak love to my mother, and in that peace I know God is with them even as He is with me. In that peace, I lay down to sleep. Nothing here can separate me from His great love, not jobs, not money, not broken families, not the pain and the suffering that comes with loving other imperfect people completely, and not the great sorrows I witness in this world. In that peace I rest, I live, I love and I pray.
I look back with the 20/20 vision that comes with viewing the past and I clearly see the hands of God guiding, protecting, leading and saving me. I know that while I prayed, He was outfitting me with His armor, and shielding me from the arrows of the enemy. I was not aware He was doing that, but when I look at myself I see the dents where the arrows hit, yet didn’t reach me completely. I was touched enough to know to pray, but protected enough to hold onto His peace.
Tonight, I know I will sleep in peace. I know who gives it to me, and now that I’m aware of it, I will pray in thankfulness for this gift I received that I didn’t even know to ask for.