I don’t always sleep well at night. Some of that comes from the ordinary physical realities of getting older, and I probably take too many snoozes and naps during the day. Medical matters sometimes swirl around in my head. Unnecessarily, I take onto myself part of our nation’s generalized anxiety about surreal political machinations and bizarre leaders. All of those become reasons why my sleep is sometimes troubled more than I’d like.
I woke up this morning extremely early, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I found myself beginning to revisit familiar aches and pains, to review in detail the coming day’s schedule and to fret about a seeming lack of possible blog content. But after a short while, another thought hit me—one of those Bible passages that never leaves my brain:. “Joy comes in the morning”, says the Psalmist (Psalm 30:5b). The Contemporary English Version (CEV) translates the verse, “At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate.”
With that passage—and its rich meanings—in mind, I shifted my musings over to neuroscience and what I have known for years about the value of sleep. Especially the research that suggests how sleep provides a time for our brains to clear out the loose chemical junk, unburdening us of unhelpful mental dross. So that we can awaken each morning with something literally akin to “a clear mind”.
The passage helped me be ready for the joy that would surely return on my awakening. I remembered all that there is to celebrate in my life. I found my gratitude returning—the way I prefer to approach every day and every person. Those thoughts calmed me toward a return to restful sleep.
That promise of a joyful morning was comforting, and has remained with me during this day. Even though I was physically tired, my way of approaching the day was energized. The worries that kept me awake at night were gone with the first light. I wasn’t discouraged by what I read in the morning newspaper. I found some excitement in thinking what could be possible on this fine, fine day. Knowing that God’s hand was evident in my change of heart during the night, I set out to make the good morning into a good day.
I don’t know if or how this might connect with you in your situation or life stage, but I want to encourage you to consider this passage as a kind of mantra for your nighttime prayers.
And your morning plans, starting today….