Sleep: the fountain of youth, restorer of dreams, maker of magic, the ultimate healer of the exhausted soul.
After the Christmas madness ended I slept. For 10 hours. I curled up inside, stretched myself out against it, allowed it to snuggle my sore and fragile places. Sleep balmed them and restored them as only she can.
I call sleep a she for who but a mother could see the weariness of her child and gently lead them to bed, tucking the warmth of the covers under their chin, stroking their face and smoothing their head with her soft hand, singing a lullaby to woo them into dreamland. Of course sleep is a woman.
I slept in my sixteenth birthday present: the cherry-wood canopy bed made by my Godfather Russ as the rain began in the mountains of NC. A gentle yet steady, slow into the night, watering the earth one drop at a time. My husband Perrin always called this kind of rain a mountain rain. He held fond memories of it from youthful days cavorting in the woods of my next-door neighbor, Montreat, the Presbyterian holy of holy lands. This kind of rain is soft and steady with a comforting, yet uneven, rhythm. It gets the job done and sometimes stays for days at a time until the streams begin to dance against their moss-covered banks and sing as they rush over large, smooth stones. Stones that often appear curiously placed, like the melting turrets of a child’s sand castle in the surf.
When sleep and rain came together this time, I found the restoration I so desperately needed. I had been on the road for months and then faced the hasty scurrying for the holiday. Before I gave into it, I felt like an anxious squirrel gathering nuts before the earth freezes over and the snow begins or perhaps a vintage Ferrari that barely made it to the garage before finally running out of gas, whichever metaphor works for you is fine. The important thing to understand is that I was tired.
Traveling in and out of cities this fall from Minnesota to Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois and back to the beaches of North Carolina, I swapped stories with the honestly aching souls of humanity, holding the pain they felt safe enough to share, seeing the frenzy of modern living in all the eyes that gazed back at mine. And you know what? I felt so honored to do the work I do as a storyteller with people I love and respect because I’ve discovered we’re all wounded and in need of understanding and restoration. It’s no wonder Mother Sleep keeps trying to put us to bed.
So as we enter a new decade of life, instead of making unrealistic “resolutions,” Perhaps we should make ourselves a sacred promise or two instead. Make a promise to spend more time comforting our soft inner selves and spending a few more hours in the arms of Mother Sleep, who just wants her children to be rested and happy. Dear friend, here’s wishing you all the best in this new decade of life!