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Dr. James L. Snyder Ministries
PO Box 830851 - Ocala, FL 34483
"Out to Pastor" > Oh, for the life of Rip van Winkle

28 Mar 2008

An item on the evening news pointed out a growing problem with many people, which they called sleep deprivation. I never heard of this before and until recently, I was never interested in this subject. Now, I find I am part of a new company.


Whoever said misery loves company has never suffered from sleep deprivation. It does not comfort me in the least to know that other people have the same difficulty going to sleep at night. What would comfort me is a good night’s sleep.


Lately, I have been envious of good old Rip van Winkle. Imagine, sleeping for 20 years. Oh, the luxury of it all. Not that I want to sleep for 20 years but one night all the way through would do me just fine. Forty winks would be welcomed.


Let me amend this just a little and say that I would love to sleep through this political year, but I’m afraid I would wake up to a bad nightmare. I am not quite sure which is worse, having a nightmare or waking up to one.


Some people take sleep for granted. I take it whenever and wherever I can get it and lately it has been an elusive pleasure. It seems that somewhere along the line my body has got its days and nights mixed up.


It has been a trial, to say the least, the jury is still out on this subject and I do not have Perry Mason on my side.


My quandary is, no sooner do I get comfortable in my easy chair than I fall asleep. And it does not take long for me to plunge into a very deep sleep. It is all I can do to keep my eyes open. At this point, my wife usually says, "If you're so sleepy, why don't you go to bed?"


Once I go to bed, my eyes will not stay shut but keep springing open no matter what I do. All I can do is toss and turn which only keeps my wife awake who has no trouble sleeping, except when I'm tossing and turning.


The aggravating part of this is I occasionally fall asleep in the middle of some TV program and never know how it turns out. Then, I cannot sleep trying to figure out who in the world committed that crime.


Everything I do has been affected by this problem. It seems I can sleep everywhere but in my bedroom and in my own bed at night. No matter how sleepy and tired I am when I enter my bedroom as soon as I am snuggled under the covers and my head touches the pillow I am wide-awake and the Sandman is nowhere to be found.


The other day I was driving across town and stopped at the railroad tracks for a train to pass. In short order, I was fast asleep with my head on the steering wheel. Thanks to the good people in the car behind me, they gave me a gentle toot on their horn to remind me the train had passed and it was clear to drive through.


I have tried everything in the past month to get some sleep at night without being too successful. It is not that I lack sleep; I'm just not sleeping at the right time. When the sun goes down my eyelids go up.


Everybody knows that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for daydreaming. Never should the two be confused.


I go to bed and lay there for several hours wide-awake gazing at the ceiling. Sleep is remote from my eyes at the time. Therefore, according to what I have been told, I go into the living room and watch a little bit of television. The common wisdom is that if you cannot sleep don't lie there, get up and do something like watch television and you will soon get sleepy. And so I followed the instructions.


No sooner am I settled in my chair than my eyes become quite heavy and I am overtaken with a sense of deep drowsiness. Very carefully, not to arouse my eyes anymore than I have to, I turn off the TV and slither into my bed, pull back the covers and slip underneath. As soon as my head touches the pillow, my eyes spring open into full wakefulness.


The process must be started all over again.


Without turning on the lights, I tiptoed into the living room, carefully turn on the TV and drop into my chair. Within moments, a sense of deep sleepiness overcomes me and for an instant, I drift off into unconsciousness. Blessed sleep has finally come.


As carefully as I can without opening my eyes, I slink back to bed and once again slip under my covers with the expectation of slumber. Just as soon as my head touches the pillow, my eyes bounce open. There must be some connection between my eyes and my pillow.


If I could find the secret of Rip van Winkle, I would bottle it, sell it and make a fortune.


I have been thinking about a verse in the Bible that addresses this very subject.

"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep" (Psalms 127:2 KJV).


Sleep is a great gift, especially from the Master Gift-giver.


Rev. James L. Snyder