Billy went up the carpeted stairway and into his and his wife's bedroom. The room had flowered wallpaper. There was a double bed with a clock-radio on a table beside it. Also on the table were controls for the electric blanket, and a switch to turn on a gentle vibrator which was bolted to the springs of the box mattress. The trade name of the vibrator was "Magic Fingers." The vibrator was the doctor's idea, too.
Billy took off his tri-focals and his coat and his necktie and his shoes, and he closed the venetian blinds and then the drapes, and he lay down on the outside of the coverlet. But sleep would not come. Tears came instead. They seeped. Billy turned on the Magic Fingers, and he was jiggled as he wept.
Billy has been having bouts of uncontrollable weeping. His doctor told Billy to take a nap every day, that he was overtired and overworked, I suppose. It seems, however, that, horizontal or vertical, eyes opened or closed, Billy cannot escape his tears.
In the last few posts, I've talked about generosity and worry and faith. These are topics that are always at the forefront of my thoughts. They give me sleepless nights, tired days. This evening, I have to teach my second semester composition class, and I feel a little exhausted at the moment. Had a restless night of sleep, turning the blankets into knots. I can't seem to turn my mind off.
I have been in this state before, when seemingly large problems loom over me like gargoyles as I try to fall asleep. And, like Billy, I get a little weepy in the wee hours of the night. No Magic Fingers bolted to my box mattress. During the rest of the day, I fight to keep my eyes open.
Now, if my faith was really strong, I wouldn't have these sleepless nights. I would have trust instead of fear and worry. That's one of my great struggles as a Christian. Perhaps it's the great struggle of any person of faith--wanting to control uncontrollable situations and, when failing to do so, losing hope. Been there. Done that. Doing it again.
Don't worry. Like I said, this struggle is constant for me. I sometimes wish I lived in easier times, when angels appeared to people and told them exactly what God wanted them to do. So much simpler. None of the anxiety and questions and insomnia. Gabriel pops in, says, "God wants you to audition for The Voice," and then disappears. Bam! Instant plan.
Doesn't quite work that way anymore. It's all about the struggle, and, through the struggle, finding faith and hope.
Saint Marty is thankful this evening for having a plan: eat dinner, teach, go home, watch TV for a little while, go to bed.