I lie down this night with God, And God will lie down with me; I lie down this night with Christ, And God will lie down with me; Carmina Gadelica
Child sleeping by Alessandro Zangrilli
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
A blessing, a balm
Another everyday occupation is one that takes up roughly a third of our day, sleep. We deeply appreciate a good night’s sleep for its rejuvenating powers and bemoan a disturbed night’s sleep, starting with (another?) deficit. I wonder how much sleep saves us, keeps us from spiralling out of control into ever increasing modes of heightened mental and emotional states – the soul as well as the body craves a balance of rest, work and play. Sleep is surely a blessing. Sleep seems to help drain away the aggregates from the day, the week, the season: those gritty accumulations; of energy deficits, of emotional ragged conversations, of those tasks and cares that drag on and sap us.
Rest, Root and Branch
The restfulness of sleep points too to a deeper rest. Philip Newell notes, “We know that when we are unwell within ourselves a night’s sleep, no matter how long, is not able to restore us. A deeper rest is required if we are to be renewed at inner depths... restoration at ‘the root’ rather than merely at ‘the branches’. It is being reconnected to the stillness that is the heart of life. Meditation in part is about being reconnected to the stillness of God.” It makes me wonder if there might be ongoing meditative practices that aid good transition through the daily and weekly cycle. A prayer perhaps*? Stopping to breathe slowly and deeply catching the moment between moments where one task is finished and another is to be taken up? Or a scripture that prompts us to let go such as 'don’t let the sun go down on your anger' (Epehsians 4:26).
Ending and starting
And then there is the matter of the Sabbath rest and the year of jubilee, all a matter of an ending and starting again, starting afresh. I picture waves rolling up a beach to gently smooth out the designs of the day, both the losses and the gains built up, the sorrows and the joys that have emerged – a baptism of sorts, a sacrament perhaps? God says I’ll take them, into myself.
I lie down this night with Spirit, And the Spirit will lie down with me; God and Christ and the Spirit Be lying down with me*.