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By Helena Smrcek

Red numbers glared at me, 1:27 am, less then two hours since I fell asleep. I listened to my husband’s breathing. My mind kicked into overdrive.

The novel I finished last night, there was a detail missing, messing up the plot. I restrained myself from turning on the light, and reaching for the book. The NYT bestselling author wasn’t waiting for my critique.

The weekend forecast, warm and sunny, we’d finish the perennial beds, and mulch the rest of the gardens. I needed to move the shelves from the barn into the garage. Bees, I had to check on the bees. How many eggs did the duck have in her nest? The clock shone 2:47 am into my eyes.

Oh, I forgot to reply to an e-mail. No, I won’t get up and sneak into my office at 3:12 am. Back to the suspense series. By 4:39 am, I have reorganized the storage room, re-designed the irrigation system, joined a small group at our church, planned our next vacation, and came up with a list of fix-ups my husband needed to address, as soon as he woke up. I also solved a missing plot point in my own novel.

By 5:15 I realized there would be no gardening if I didn’t get a couple more hours of sleep. I fluffed up my pillow, and focused on the softness of my duvet, as I struggled to stop the treadmill in my head.

I thought of God. And suddenly, it was simply Him and I, in the stillness of the night, interrupted only by my husband’s soft snores, and occasional chick chirp coming from the laundry room. An unusual idea entered my mind. I could be selfish. No one but God would know. I felt like crawling into God’s lap, and letting Him hold me, while I took in His presence, forgetting my worries, concerns about our kids, farm chores, business issues, plans, and to-do lists. What a luxury to let it all go. Only Him and I, in the darkness, not wanting anything, not asking for favors or miracles - it all melted away.

The next thing I knew, my phone buzzed, and I grunted. At breakfast I announced to my family that I thought of everything, and had plans for everyone. They grunted. A yawn escaped me, and I admitted the truth. I got four hours of sleep, maybe, because my mind wouldn’t shut up.

“It could be the pseudoephedrine hydrochloride,” said my twenty-something son. I stared at him.

“The allergy meds I gave you last night.”

What gallons of coffee failed to achieve, one little pill accomplished, no problem. I knew the truth. My own child drugged me. I sipped my coffee, thankful I didn’t have to give up caffeine to battle insomnia, like my husband. Yet truthfully, a hug from God was worth the sleepless night. This little secret I kept to myself. It didn’t need a pharmacy label. It was between Him and I, much needed, and beyond real.