awake at night

“When you awake in the night,
transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying:
‘Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you,
and to keep you company with all the Angels.'”

St. John Vianney


(sunset over the the gulf /Julie Cook / 2018)

The past several nights I have woken up around 2:30 AM—wide awake.
Hot.
Sweaty.
Uncomfortable.
Despite the AC running and my husband gently snoring, sleep for me is over.

My back aching with the slightest move–and now an aching neck and shoulder.

It hurts to turn, to roll, to twist.

Dreams, when they come, have been vivid, leaving me wondering and pondering.
Pondering much too much for such an unwelcoming hour.

Time passes with no relief as the numbers of the clock tick on and on.
No calm nor slumber.

Sleep, for me, is often elusive but more so as of late.

When the morning light comes, it is almost rude and unkind as
I find it harder and harder to get up since sleep now tries to
arrive right when it’s time to get up.

Exhausted and ill, I grouse at the day.

Last night, my brain turned on, my eyes popped open and it was only 2:30— my mind racing.
I ruminated on and on like a cow chewing cud over my latest odd dream.
Unresolved ancient issues or just the aching of a herniated disc?

I examine the past.
“NO”, I shout to my hyper-focused mind…” this is not the time!”

So my brain now toys with me, as the unending partial lyrics to a song
begin playing over and over as the earworm bores deeper into my brain.

“STOP”, I silently plead to my restless brain….”just let me rest”, I implore.

And so…I pray.
Focusing on that which is greater than the madness, greater than my weariness.
I offer myself over to You as a sacrifice…
Hear my prayers oh Lord…

“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”

Over and over I repeat the soothing words until I sense my mind and body quieting in unison.

“My Lord, I offer you myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
You have died for me, and I in turn make myself over to you.
I am not my own.
You have bought me; I will by my own act and deed complete the purchase.
My wish is to be separated from everything of this world;
to cleanse myself simply from sin; to put away from me even what is innocent,
if used for its own sake, and not for yours. I put away reputation and honor,
and influence, and power, for my praise and strength shall be in you.
Enable me to carry out what I profess.”

Bl. John Henry Newman, p. 135
An Excerpt From
Everyday Meditations

ears to hear

“Surrender thyself to God and thou shalt find thyself again”
Alfred Delp and originally attributed to Thomas a Kempis

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(frozen in time / Julie Cook / 2017)

Humans need freedom.

As slaves, fettered and confined, they are bound to deteriorate.
We have spent a great deal of thought and time on external freedom;
we have made serious efforts to secure our personal liberty and yet
we have lost it again and again.

The worst thing is that eventually humans come to accept the state of bondage—
it becomes habitual and they hardly notice it.
The most abject slaves can be made to believe that the condition in which
they are held is actually freedom.

During these long weeks of confinement I have learned by personal experience
that a person is truly lost, is the victim of circumstances and oppression
only when he is incapable of a great inner sense of depth and freedom.

Human freedom is born in the moment of our contact with God.

What really matters is the fact that we are called and we must
be sufficiently awake to hear the call.

Alfred Delp
Prison Writings

“In my distress I called upon the LORD,
Yes, I cried to my God;
And from His temple He heard my voice,
And my cry for help came into His ears.

2 Samuel 22:7

Dreamily

God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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(foggy effects of a lens transitioning from cool inside to steamy outside / Julie Cook/ 2015)

Lying there idly, somewhere between that place of waking and slumber,
In that misty place of dreams. . .
That place of the miraculous. . .where there is little distinction between
reality and fantasy. . .the actual and the unreal;
It is in that place of Balance that He often, in Spirit yet without form, comes to us.

As a Peace descends the quietude. . .
And a Voice without words begins to break the silence. . .

A Power beyond comprehension fills the void with a massive yet welcoming Presence. . .
Helpless to move, as there is no option given to run nor hide, we are left to wonder
As we wander in the mistiness between Time and Space.

There is Serenity simply in breathing. . .nothing more and nothing less. . .
The rhythmic in and out, up and down of life.
A resting in the Presence of One. . .
Hovering between Heaven and firmament, there are no real thoughts, no worries, no regrets. . .
Just the pleasure of merely Being. . .

The desire to linger, to stay—beckons as Joy mingles with Contentment–
As the Knowledge,
that no harm shall prevail in this surreal Sanctuary grows into a soothing Balm,
A warm touch is sensed where there is no noticeable hand.

Being held firmly and securely washes over all the senses.
There is no desire to let go or break free. . .just the Tranquility of Resting. . .
As both holding and having become the same,
Just as the knowledge of possession tastes of Sweetness.

The dawn’s first light begins to shift the scene
With the lines that were, now blurring and blinded by a rising sun. . .
This as the cognizant perception of what just was
Has now merely become a puzzling ponderance of could It really have been. . .