Last night was one of those unfortunate nights where the pain of gout kept me awake and in a fair amount of suffering during the course of hours where I would have preferred to have, if possible, peaceful and dreamless sleep. I have long pondered, with little satisfaction, the grim struggle I have simply to sleep peacefully at night . I know I am not alone in this, because from time to time when I am actually sleeping I will find messages left in the middle of the night from insomniacs among my acquaintances. Sometimes I will even find other people up in the middle of the night and wonder what is going on with them, what is causing sleep to flee from the eyes, and while I am a rather curious person, I am also rather disinclined to be nosy about the lives of others, and so I let the question pass and try to get back to sleep myself. I know the varied and unpleasant reasons why sleep goes fleeing from my eyes, and if the reasons why others struggle with sleep is anything similar to the myriad of reasons why I sleep, they can keep their business to themselves.
As it happens, while I was agonizing over the pain in my foot in the middle of the night, I happened to take a look at my blog statistics, which gave me another reason to sleep less peacefully. Last night was one of those times where a fellow insomniac among a small group of people decided on a periodic look through my blog at some classic blog entries of mine, racking up dozens of searches under the same IP address. I am often puzzled why (presumably the same) people look at a certain narrow circle of posts over and over periodically. Is it like people turning to a favorite horror movie to give them a bit of a rush and stave off the sleep for a bit? Is it periodically the cause of conversation and reflection and people want to go back and look up what I said as some sort of evidence against myself? Who knows? No one asks me. I just see the stats, the hours where the hurried searches of one insomniac reading the reflections of another hurried insomniac, the conversation indirect, and neither of them receiving any sort of comfort to help them sleep better.
When, after napping a bit and then getting up, I saw a post that a friend of mine had made asking for prayers for an unspecified but easy enough to determine reason. This friend, along with her family, happens to reside in one of our embassies abroad, and is currently a hostage of some of the geopolitical games going on since our election. As someone who has more than my fair share of experience in dealing with the effects of national and international politics on the course of fairly ordinary people, it was not hard at all for me to see how this sort of peril would drive someone to pour out their anxiety and concern about their safety before God and seek the prayers and well wishes of friends who, knowing the context of their lives would be able to without too much trouble piece together the general scenario of what they are concerned about. Sleep will tend to flee from the eyes who are worried about the anger of foreign regimes or the fate of being a hostage to global political idiocy. It is a shame that some people do not think of the well-being of others when they are off pursuing their own quixotic political ambitions or unsuccessfully adulting after dealing with disappointments.
Examples such as this could be multiplied. A parent could have a sleepless night while his or her child is in the hospital for unknown reasons, or someone could fret anxiously and lose sleep over an impending court hearing or visit with the local sheriff’s department, or any other number of reasons. Most of us are, as the cliche goes, only one call away from the brink. Most of the stability and comfort we enjoy in life is fairly fragile in nature, and as long as most people are going along well enough they will be blissfully unaware of the way that their comfort hangs by a thread. Indeed, those who are perhaps too aware of the fragility of the lives that we live will be too anxious to enjoy much of it, and in such circumstances sleep tends to flee from the eyes like a skittish and unwilling paramour. Alas, that is something I know all too well from all sides of that problem, just as it is too easy for me to understand how I and many others would struggle to have a good night’s sleep in the face of the trials and difficulties of our lives. May we be fortunate enough not to be the reason why sleep flees from someone else’s eyes, to be the cause of anxious reflection or haunting nightmares. There is enough suffering in this world without our adding to it by malice aforethought.
 See, for example: