As I sat next to him, holding his hand while he struggled to fall asleep, my mind could only imagine the thoughts swirling around in his head. It has been a hard summer for these boys; after years of equally difficult seasons. At night, as they will their brains to rest, they toss and turn, leaning toward their hopes of trust and safety, and flinching from bedbugs: memories of disappointment, loneliness, anger, isolation, and fear.
Last night, one pleaded for me to stay with him. “Ellen, I keep seeing haloosing asians on the floors and walls. They are watching me.”
I tried to reassure them that hallucinations are not real; only in our minds. There was nothing that could harm them; not in our house.
I know that this seems very real to you. But nothing is going to happen to you in our home. Nothing. God is big and powerful, and his angels keep guard over the home and over your room. Nothing can harm you. We won’t allow it. God won’t allow it.
They seem to calm some, and begin asking questions about how tall angels are and how their swords are made. Then one whispers, “Can you pray one more time?”
Sure. We can do that.
As I waited until their breathing slowed to a slumber, I wondered how many times adults have the same fears only are too mature to voice them.
Mounting bills, insignificance, illness, loneliness, distant spouses, purposeless existence; big-kid bedbugs show up in the middle of the night to haunt our minds and steal our rest. We toss and turn, blaming the neckache on the mattress. Truth be known, it is our feared lack of control that holds us hostage.
The answer for us is the same. God is big and powerful and watches over us, to guide and protect us.
Life will come. Junk will happen. Joys will sweep us up in euphoria and pain will introduce us to unimaginable depths.
Still, we can reside in his palm knowing that he still controls the wind and waves, he will never let anything come against us that we cannot handle, and our lack of control is an invitation for him to show us his magnificence.
Then, we can lie back, curl deep in the folds of our blankets, exhale slowly and truly, deeply rest.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Close your eyes, my boys and my friends. Have a good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.