Why Must I Sleep?
This is a question that has been foremost in my mind for quite some time. Of course, I do know why I need to sleep. Our bodies are made in such a way that we need a regular period of rest and rejuvenation and restoration. Type the question into your favorite search engine and you'll find a plethora of articles expounding on the subject: Link Link Link Link Link
Modern day scriptures even exhort us to get our daily dose of rest:
" . . . cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."
--Doctrine & Covenants 88:124
But some days, like today, when I have so many "creative" ideas just floating around in my brain, I really don't want to take the time to sleep. If only I didn't have to sleep, I could get so much more done! Today I put in my eight or nine hours at work, then spent several hours this evening in my favorite place to contemplate. On the way home I stopped at the store to buy some bread, took the time to warm up some dinner, then sat down to write a bit, my mind just brimming with all of my contemplations and grand ideas and goals. There is the story I'm trying to rewrite, the weeding and yard clean up that needs to be done, the never-ending laundry, the de-cluttering, the quilting and the sewing, the Sunday School lesson preparations, the emails to the kids and letters to the parents, the minutes from last week's neighborhood community council meeting to type up. And of course we need to take time to eat and review the day with the dear husband and daughters still at home, read the scriptures, say the prayers, compare notes of what needs to happen and who is doing what when. Before we know it the clock has long since struck the magic hour of midnight, and some head off to bed. Yes, I'm tired, my eyes hurt, my head is dull, my back is aching, and I need to get up again in six hours, but the ideas are still swimming around in my head. If I don't put them down somewhere permanently, by tomorrow they may be long gone and forever forgotten. Oh, and look! Here's an email telling me that someone has re-pinned one of my pins on Pinterest . . .I'll just take a quick peak, and look! Her board has so many more good ideas. Another half an hour is gone before I know it.
I had a teacher way back in the olden days when I was in high school. He was a teacher because he loved it, but he was also a building contractor during the summers and on the weekends because his family needed the extra income. I remember him often lamenting the time he had to give up in order to eat and sleep. Back then we didn't understand. We'd laugh and think he was joking. But now I understand. Life is short. There is so much to do; so many wonderful things to experience. How will we ever be able to see it all, do it all, read it all, experience it all???
My dear sweet mother has spent her life working hard and serving others. As the oldest child she carried a heavy load helping with housework, tending younger siblings, caring for animals and gardens and orchards. She was a wonderful student and an excellent violinist, the concert mistress of her university orchestra. She became a school teacher, and then a wife and mother on a family farm. She loved to read and she loved music and she loved her farmer husband and her six children. Her days were filled to the brim, and she would often still be up way past the kids bedtimes finishing up the dishes and folding laundry or ironing or sewing a costume for the upcoming school or church production. But, even she knew the logical order of things. We all need sleep. Eventually she knew it was time for bed, and would encourage a procrastinating daughter doing homework to close the books and head to bed too. "Tomorrow is another day," she would say. "You need your sleep."
My beautiful mother is now nearing the 89 year mark. She has been ill for several months and her heart is tired. We all know that the end of her day is near. But there is still so much to do!! She is reluctant to leave, and we are reluctant to let her go. I wish I had visited her more often, shared more books and movies and music with her. I wish I had learned more of the family stories and shared more of the work of searching out our family history. I wish I had done more to help her, hugged her more and kissed her more. But it's time to get ready for bed. There is work to be done in another place; more things to learn; more people to meet and teach and serve. We need to let her go and let her know that we love her and that it is ok for her to go.
"I love you."
"Tomorrow is another day."
"You need your sleep."