As the holidays approach, you may find yourself awake in the thin hours of the morning:
1) to harass by tearing, biting or snapping, especially at the throat.
2) to touch or disturb something repeatedly.(Merriam-Webster)
Dale Carnegie said, “If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”
There’s a similar mantra in outdoor survival classes: “Try to keep making your situation a little better.”
We’d hiked 10 miles only to find the trail ahead of us was blocked (read: fallen into the valley below). There wasn’t time to bushwhack through the fallen trees with nightfall and a storm bearing down on us.
That’s when my son announced he was out of water. And sick to his stomach. And it started to rain.
We backtracked, about a half mile, where we found a semi-flat spot in the trail (we were on the side of a mountain), set up tent and a tiny tarp shelter. That’s when I found out my son hadn’t packed any rain gear and mostly cotton clothes.
He was young. He was tired—we both were. I should have checked with the Forest Service before starting. I should’ve checked my son’s gear. I had a lot of “shoulda’s” until some spark of preservation goaded me.
Hope grew when we were able to start a fire; a tiny one, but it threw out a circle of light in the pouring rain. We built a water collector; an ugly jury-rigged contraption that any survival manual would laugh at. Never mind. Each action, even the ones that failed (like the collector collapsing) gave us a grip on a world we didn’t control. It kept us focused on the present.
Obviously…we made it. That kid has grown up. He now carries most of the load on our hiking trips. And the lessons we learned about worry on that trip….I’ve carried into life.
So when sleep doesn’t come, I kick off the bed covers to write, pray, or look for phone numbers that I can call as soon as the clock strikes 8 a.m. (Those lucky people).
And that kid…now turned adult….????
Sometimes in the thin hours of the morning, I get an e-mail that says:
“Hi Mom, You still up? Can we talk?”
Worries will come this season
*Auntie Sue will insist her little yapper dog MUST sit on her lap during Christmas dinner.
* Two relatives will announce they’ve turned vegan and won’t sit at a table that has anything that’s ever come from a live animal.
* Your mother-in-law will suggest a NEW, even more convoluted way to do the traditional gift exchange. And family warfare will break out when you shout: “Don’t anyone get me a damn Snuggie!!”
This holiday season…may you have hours of restful slumber…and if you don’t….
Get up. Work on making the present a little bit better.
Morning will come. Hope comes with it.
May your have no worries for Christmas.