It’s bedtime. Again. This becomes a bigger thing when actual real life starts again with actual real school in an actual real building and actual real work with actual real people!

Not that bedtime didn’t exist before. It did. I am keen on bedtime, especially for other people. But when you get up every day at 6am, bedtime becomes very important. No half-hour wiggle room. No late nights to finish a game, look at the stars or watch a film. Sleep is suddenly a lifeline.

Without it life deteriorates into a panic-stricken list of tasks:

…lunches; housework; practise (I’m a music teacher); prepare lessons; teach; general life admin; get told about yet more school books; write up lesson notes; boy homework; search for hockey stick; follow-up from lessons; teaching admin; train dog; mend shelf in shed; quality time with dog; boy practise; read people’s blogs; give boys time to relax; pay bills; teach boys to take an active part in helping in the house; house maintenance; ‘flea stuff-dog’ written on the list (who else needs flea stuff?); water plants (no light task); check first aid training (oh help!); arrange more first aid training; arrange to pay for first aid training; harvest tomatoes; quality time with – boys? husband? – oh gosh, is it a choice?; better bake or paint; read; help with cooking tomato soup; talk to friends; buy schoolbooks; remember to relax and take a break; don’t eat too much chocolate; read scripture; exercise; homework; listen don’t nag; tidy bedrooms…

You know how the thoughts go. You know what you should do, and how. You just can’t do it! Because though you are getting up earlier and there are more hours in the day, you are less effective because you are tired. You need sleep.

And yet there’s no point getting hung up on sleep. There are nights where it is broken by dogs barking, noses bleeding, woodsmoke wafting, wind blowing, the mind being busy, alarms set at the wrong time. You can get all stressed and upset by the terrible day ahead that you know will inevitably result, or you can just take a deep breath, remain calm, grin wryly and know that God can make it work out anyway. Lists aren’t what it’s all about.

I read a Thought for the Day today. It was a good thought, in context. (It was about the coming Kingdom.) A great thought, even. But the sentence that greeted my horror-stricken eyes was:

‘I ask myself every evening, have I really loved enough, hoped enough, fought enough, worked enough?’ 

Well, I don’t know about the author, but my answer would always be ‘no!’. What a silly question! (Define ‘enough’, please, and then we might get somewhere.) How can I ever do enough?

On the days I get to bed at bedtime, I don’t ask those things. I want to sleep, after all. I ask, instead, what went right? And I’m grateful. That’s quite enough. I’m grateful for those things and I’m grateful I don’t have to do enough. That’s the point of the coming of Christ, after all. I’m just grateful for sleep, and bedtime.

Theme photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

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