Sleepless in the Night


I’m entering a new phase of my life . . . the “hot” zone.  One minute, minding my own business, typing or reading or just hanging with family — the next, the heater kicks in and my face has little rivulets of sweat. One minute I’m sound asleep, cuddled in my fuzzy armed sleeper, the next wide awake and kicking off the covers.

Then the evening begins in earnest, this interior monologue that keeps yammering in my brain like a tiresome neighbor — yapping and yapping relentlessly on one unwelcome topic after another.

A work-related conundrum.

A frustrating family relationship.

A worrisome and irresolvable issue regarding the kids.

“You okay?” comes the sleepy voice from the other side of the bed. Apparently the silence from my side of the bed was deafening.

“I’m okay. Go back to sleep.” The words are hardly out of my mouth before he resumes his Darth Vader routine. I go back to staring at the ceiling.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus restores the sight of a man born physically blind.


“… [Bartimaeus] began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.” . . .
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”

From Mark 10 “I want to see, Lord . . . Show me the way.” There in the dark, my physical eyes take in the faint outline of my sleeping husband, my latest book calling me from the bedside table, the bedside clock flickering the minutes away.

“Are you listening, God? It’s me . . .” Overhead, the ceiling fan makes a little scritchy sound with each rotation. The bathroom sink drips, the dryer rumbles in the next room.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Master, I want to sleep. But it’s sleepless in the a.m., see. Because some kinds of blindness, some kinds of helplessness require more than a simple act of the will to overcome.

“Mama?” the small figure that has materialized by my side of the bed can’t sleep either. She has worries all her own. “Can I sleep with you?”

I take a deep breath, and inhale the fruity scent of her freshly washed head. Sandwiched between my husband and daughter, I will myself to relax and curve my arm to frame her comfortably. Soon I am rewarded by regulated breathing.

It’s three o’clock. It’s not any clearer out — not outside, not in my head. But suddenly the issues gently fall away, reduced to the simplicity of gentle snores and lumps of warmth on either side of me. My mind begins to swirl, then fades slowly to black.

Suddenly the dawn has come.


About Author

Heidi Saxton is an author of several books and columns. She and her husband Craig are adoptive parents of two children. Her "Extraordinary Moms Network" has special relevance to families of adopted, foster, or special-needs children. Heidi is currently writing her thesis for a Masters in Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.