The Watches of the Night

The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.
~ Job 7:4b


It’s 4 am. Too early to get up, and yet if I go back to sleep it will feel like I just closed my eyes when the alarm goes off at 6. The blinds are drawn, so it’s dark, but my open eyes are now accustomed to it. I can see the books on my nightstand. My Kindle is there too, ever ready to entertain, inform, engage. But I should be sleeping. When my alarm goes off, I won’t be ready for the day, won’t be able to function properly. I’ll keep missing the sleep I lost as each hour passes. I need sleep.

I can hear rain. It’s well and truly Fall, and soggy leaves are filling up the gutters. It’s good to be under covers, under a roof, in a home. It’s good to have a place to lay my head, to sleep in peace, comfortable and safe. I have to get back to sleep. It’s going to be a miserable day if I don’t.

The sound of tires on wet asphalt outside. Someone is up at this hour. Heading off on a long commute. Or coming home from a graveyard shift. There are people up all over the city, working, making money, keeping things running while I rest. While I’m supposed to be resting. Why am I not asleep?

People out there now, earning wages. I’m lying here earning nothing at the moment. The estimate they gave me to get the brakes fixed on my car is more than I can afford. They didn’t say it had to be done now. I guess I’ll find out. I can’t pay for something with money I don’t have. Of course, if the car falls apart while I’m driving, I certainly won’t be able to buy a new one.

They should be paying me more at work. I should ask for a raise. It can’t hurt to ask. Then maybe I can afford to fix my car, or better yet, car payments on a new one. But what if they look into my position and decide they don’t need me? Maybe I should just keep quiet. I can’t draw attention to myself or they might question my value.

And what is my value there? What’s the point of being there at all? I don’t like the job. I’m so tired of listening to my boss talk about all the things I need to improve. What about what she needs to improve? When do I get to tell her everything that’s wrong with her? I never wanted this to be my career. I want to do something worthwhile, something I love. But I don’t have any experience in anything else.

Maybe my boss is right about all the stuff I should be doing better. Maybe I’m just mediocre, and I’ll never get better at anything. I’ll work at this job for the next 30 years, if I’m lucky, and since there’ll be no Social Security when I retire, I’ll wind up in a studio apartment above a mechanic shop until they stick me in a condemned building retirement home for penniless vagabonds who have contributed nothing to society, and that’s where I’ll die. Alone.

I think this room getting smaller as I lie here, and what’s that creaking sound? Is the roof about to cave in? My heart is beating too fast. My head is pounding. Why am I still awake?!

Take a deep breath. Breathe slowly. In… Out… In… Out…

I close my eyes, imagine my heart rate slowing, synchronizing with the steady pace of my breathing. It’s 4:30 am. Now…today. Remember where you are. Remember who you are. Remember who He is.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

Remember and pray.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
~Psalm 63:6

Father, remind me.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
~Psalm 63:7

Father, shelter me.

I cling to you;
Your right hand upholds me
~Psalm 63:8

Father, strengthen me.

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
~Psalm 63:3-5

Father, thank you.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
~Matthew 11:28

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
~Psalm 4:8

The Watches of the Night

The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.
~ Job 7:4b