And Then We Rest

This new pattern in my life is less than welcome, and yet mildly fascinating.

I’m getting about three good nights of sleep each week. The other four are fitful and frustrating. I doze off and then jerk awake, or I toss and turn and toss some more before I give up and read, or rise.

Tonight, I rose.

I know this comes with age, with the season of life that sees parts of my female essence slipping away as I embrace – gasp – middle age.

Wait; ’embrace’ is not right word. I’m staving it off; pushing back. Denying it. Everything I thought was middle-aged is most everything I am not.

Except for these things over which I have no natural control.

My body is changing; my sleep patterns are altered. My appetite has changed. My energy level is not quite the same.

But here I am, and it seems to me a rather futile waste of energy to run away from what is unfolding in my life.

Earlier this evening – or yesterday, to be more accurate –  I sat at the kitchen table and talked with my boys. Sixteen and just shy of 20, they are young men of this millennium; attached to their devices, at home with screens. We talked a bit about communication and how it’s changing, and I wanted them to tell me; show me, help me see the incredible difference between my life and theirs, as marked by digital technology and the world – and their friends – just a swipe away. I told them how – even just seven short years ago – Tony and I would spend an hour on the phone, just talking.

“Does anybody even just talk on the phone anymore? Does that even happen?”

Not so much, I guess.

They shared how they do feel the need to communicate, how they do so more often than we realize. Older son said, Remember that message, when Brian said that everybody has a certain amount of words that they need to use up every day? Well, sometimes, I finish school and I come home and I haven’t really talked to anybody, but I have all these words…so I have a lot of friends, and I can just text them. Or snapchat. Just to give them my words.

We are not so different, I see. The context has changed, but the need remains.

There are things in me that are shaking out; reduced to single nuggets of occasional distraction as water sluices through. The need to talk so much, the desperate need for approval. An acceptance of the body I live in. Willingness to take a nap.

I would rather be sleeping right now, but I have noticed that on those nights I do not sleep well, the following days are much less painful than I’d expect. There’s an evening out of things, I think; one need lessens and perhaps the other responds in kind.

Life seems, mostly, to be about that sort of give and take. Underneath the billowing landscape of change, we still have words that need hearing and grace that needs giving.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Or at least my perspective tells me so. Time moves me through the years and sleepless nights, and my sons look for connections that makes life worth living and telling about. And we give one another our words.

And then we rest.

A scene from my Sunday morning drive; thick, luscious clouds and can you feel the crunch of the corn husks?

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