I am having trouble sleeping. Actually, that is an understatement.
An unusually high number of new projects has kept me up late and that is part of the problem. But only part. The real issue is that I wake up every night between 4 and 4:30 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep.
This has been going on for three weeks now … ever since my father’s funeral.
My wife figured it out. She remembered that the last time I spoke to Dad was the morning I flew from New Jersey back to Texas. It was an early flight and I had to wake up around 4 to get to the airport on time.
That’s when I said goodbye to Dad.
My wife says that the problem is my subconscious, which still hasn’t gotten a handle on how suddenly Dad passed away. Or maybe that I didn’t really say goodbye; I just told him I loved him and left it at that. Or maybe that I didn’t cry enough and that’s why I keep waking up.
I told her I don’t allow my subconscious to run free on its own, but if you happen to see it scampering around trailing a broken leash please give me a call.
I remember the last time I had this much trouble sleeping. It was back in the early ’90s when Loretta Humble made me the editor of The Malakoff News. I was inexperienced, but she gave me a chance and for that I will always be grateful.
Every Wednesday morning I would take the big, pasted up cardboard pages to the Athens Daily Review to get printed. The night before, after going to sleep, there would almost always be a moment of panic when I sat bolt upright in bed worrying about a mistake I might have made.
It was a feeling of being out on a limb, totally alone. My story, my byline, my mistake and the whole town was going to know what I had done. Inexperience will do that to you.
That insecurity faded with time. I was tutored by some great community journalists and I learned to trust what they taught me.
I had faith in the process … and I slept.
Now I feel insecure again. What happened to Dad was a shock, and it was followed up two weeks later by another shock when my mother-in-law entered hospice.
I think that is the real reason for my insomnia: Insecurity. I think the answer will be found in the same place as before: Faith.
I just have to trust what I have learned from some very Godly men. I have to remember my life verse and not worry about the rest.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
— Micah 6:8
And hopefully get some sleep.