That BLiNK’n Light!

Sleep experts tell us that the darker the environment in which we sleep, the deeper and more restful is our sleep. It has something to do with healthy blood levels of the hormone melatonin. When we are exposed to light at night our blood melatonin levels drop significantly. Studies have connected not sleeping in darkness to everything from weight gain to sleep deprivation symptoms to the increased growth rates of some tumors. Incredible!

It has taken 4+ years to finally get it dark enough in our bedroom to sleep past the summer sunrise of as early as 5:39 AM.

Step one: Identify the lights of night.

The townhouse sits in a typical suburban neighborhood with street lights for walking dogs, separated by shady spots for teenage smooching. We live right in front of one of those street lights – a no-smooching zone. With the exception of a week or so between the light going out and BG&E coming out to fix it, the light has shined in the front of the house for all of those years.

Although our bedroom is on the backside of the townhouse, the front rooms and hallway might as well be on the Vegas strip! Closing our bedroom door is not an option, given that a townhouse is simply a ranch home cut in thirds and stacked on top of each other. Since heat rises and we’re at the highest point of the house, it gets hot in our bedroom. [Can I say that?!]

We started with room-darkening shades in the guest room and den then moved to close those doors at night.

Lights of the night…check!

Step two: Identify the lights of the morning.

That would be the sun, over which I exercise no control. Room darkening blinds helped. Room darkening curtains helped further. Cloudy days are gifts from above. Closing the bathroom door takes us all the way to dark but, given I am a ‘man of a certain age,’ it has taken some getting used to in the middle of the night!

Lights of the morning…check!

I had hoped that would be all there was to a dark, sleep-filled night.

I don’t know who manufactured the fire/smoke alarm in the upstairs hallway. If I did, I would write and ask them one simple question: Why?

To be more clear, “Why – if you have a tiny red light that will flash if the back-up battery is low – do you have a tiny green light that flashes 24/7/365 to tell you that the tiny red light is not flashing?”

In my healthy-sleep-conscious upstairs configuration, when we turn out the lights at night, everything is dark… for about 27 seconds. That’s how long it takes for my eyes and brain to overcome the initial shock of the lights going out and track to the hall where this tiny little green light resides.

The light is literally the size of the tip of an unfolded paper clip. Nevertheless, in this refreshingly dark environment, it could just as easily be one of those spotlights that used-car dealerships rent when they are attempting to draw me in like a bug to a zapper!

  • If I turn to the right – it is palpable.
  • If I lay on my back – it reflects all across the ceiling.
  • If I turn to the left – it casts shadows on the wall.
  • If I lay on my stomach – I suffocate.

Jesus once famously referred to Himself as “the Light of the World.” When speaking about those who follow Him, he called them/us, “salt and light in the world.” If I understand the analogy correctly, it’s like He is the sun and we are a moon. He generates light – we simply reflect light.

It seems that, if I reflect long enough and clear enough in dark enough places (like my nighttime bedroom arrangement), eyes will be drawn (and quickly)… not to the shadows on the wall or the reflection on the ceiling, but to the Light Himself.

This has raised a whole host of questions in my soul.

  • Do I hang out with people who are not like me?
  • Do I even like people who are not like me?
  • Do I have any idea what it is to love them?
  • Is the reflected light of my own life of the full-moon variety, so bright and clear that it casts shadows?
  • Have I generated so many clouds between me and them that, regardless of the quality of the light being reflected, they can’t even see it?
  • Am I so ignorant as to be a moon who thinks I generate my own light?
  • That is, are they drawn to me rather than to Him?

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. But, before I can gain the clarity necessary to hear our Father on such matters, I’m going to put a little, round band-aid over the tiny green flashing light and get a good night’s sleep.

A sleepy prayer for you from a sweet Christmas Hymn:

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.

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About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
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