Imagine yourself in a room about twelve feet wide and twenty feet long. There are four beds, two of them twin-sized beds and two of them double-sized beds, placed at the four corners of this room. My bed is at the southeast corner of the room. My feet point at the bed of a young couple at the northeast corner, and to my left is another couple with the young woman being somewhat loud. An old woman is on the opposite corner to me, and we are staying at a lovely hostel just outside the walls of Old Town Tallinn, and it has yet to dawn on the Sabbath as I write this. In a couple of hours, God wiling, I will head down to have some breakfast. I am ten hours ahead of my normal time zone, and yet despite the length of flying I appear to be more or less acclimated to conditions with my normal patterns of insomnia . My conditions and company may be unfamiliar, but I remain the same wherever I go.
How is it that we and our lives remain the same wherever we may travel? Even though travel broadens our horizons, and gives us opportunities we may not have recognized before in our home areas, it does not tend to markedly make us different people than we are already. I woke up this morning due to a nightmare about someone many thousands of miles away, someone who likely has no interest in troubling my sleep, and who I will not see for another two weeks. Fairly soon I realized I had a nosebleed and so had to adopt measures to keep the blood from spilling on my clothes, my laptop, and my bed. Given my continual curse when it comes to finding good sleep, one might think it was the sleep of a troubled conscience when it reality it was merely the sleep of a tormented soul. I suppose there will be plenty of time to sleep in the grave, as I have a lot of rest to catch up on, sleep that has been lost to the torments of my soul, torments that have stayed with me for a long time, and which nothing I have done or not done has been able to alleviate to any great degree.
Wherever we are, we bring ourselves with us. This may be a particularly obvious observation, but it is important to note because we often live under the belief or hear it proclaimed by others that it is our external circumstances that shape our lives. And to be sure, this is true in part, but not in whole. A great deal of our happiness and success in life depends on who we are, what we carry with us wherever we wander. If I woke up in a Thailand mourning the death of its longtime king, I would still be plagued with nightmares, albeit of a somewhat different kind than the ones that plague me now. My essential nature, being someone prone to disastrous sleep, would not all of the sudden change because where I lived changed. What would change is the content of the nightmare, reflecting whatever concerns and drama and difficulties were engaging me in my life there, as was the case when I lived in Thailand. My sleep does not depend on the bed in which I sleep, it depends on the mental and emotional life of the person doing the sleeping, and that suggests something far more unpleasant and far more ominous in the course and shape of our lives.
I woke up, and unable to sleep, decided it would be better to write and reflect upon life than to lay there as the blood flowed down into my stomach from the back of my throat. This was a conscious choice, a choice to ponder and to reflect. A choice to seek to understand and be understood. This is a fairly common choice to make. A fellow royal insomniac, King Xerxes of Persia, once had a troubled night recorded in the Book of Esther where his lack of sleep led him to hear a story of Mordecai’s loyalty in protecting him from a coup and give him a reward. His poor sleep, in other words, ended up serving the purposes and plans of God for the well-being and deliverance of His people. I do not know what purposes and plans my own lifetime of bad sleep have. If the trouble and torment I deal with makes me more compassionate to others, improves my patience or graciousness, or serves some sort of larger plan for the good, I will be content. I do not know if this is the case, or why it has been so difficult for me to find pleasant and peaceful sleep over the course of life, aside from the obvious fact that I have a lot of things to have nightmares about, unfortunately. Perhaps that is one of the aspects of the prophetic meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles that is the most meaningful and significant for me, and perhaps for many other people, in that this time symbolizes an era of peace and safety and security where no one will need to be tormented by the troubles of their mind, and where we will not fuel our nightmares on the cares and anxieties of our ordinary existence with people who are perhaps as sensitive and as anxious as we ourselves are in their own fashion.
 See, for example: