The Lord gave me some very good talents but sleeping is not on His list for me. There is a chance for me to get a good night's sleep this evening but it's not likely. I have never been a good sleeper as is evidenced in the following, taken from November 20, 2005.
I flew into St. Louis yesterday from Houston. At Westbury Christian, we take a week for Thanksgiving. Because of a scheduling conflict with Southwest Airlines, I had to leave my basketball team in the middle of a tournament at St. Marks Episcopal School. We won the consolation championship which sounds better than saying we finished third. The Lady Wildcats are 4-1, a shock to me. It is to my players as well- they thought we would be 5-0! A shout out to April Cusic, my assistant, who made her solo coaching debut and sports a sparkling 1-0 mark on her career resume'! I feel as if I am no longer needed!
Last night, I got my best night sleep in months. I slept eight hours. My dad mentioned on the ride back from the airport that I am always tired when I visit . That is only partly correct. The truth is I am always tired. The difference is that when I visit my folks, I take the time to sleep. Is sleep a necessity or a luxury? The answer for many of us is that it is both. We have to sleep some or shut down but we are so busy, sleep is less and less a priority. An alarm clock sits by my bed and I set it but it never wakes me- I'm up before it goes off. I get up at 4:15 a.m. or earlier Monday-Friday during the school year. I have crutches to help me navigate the day. Before school, I have three cups of strong, black coffee and during my planning period, I take a ten minute speed sleep. Every year, I rearrange my schedule to keep up with new challenges. Faye Kieffer is one of my favorite people/co-workers of all-time. I heard her say that she had taught for twenty years and there were always more teaching responsibilities added. The problem, according to Faye, is that nothing is ever subtracted. Every teacher can add their AMEN to Faye's observation and most people in the workplace can as well. In some ways teaching is made easier by technological advancements but these are also time consuming. I'm not complaining- I love my work and I see it as my mission. On the other hand, as I have tried to expand my personal/spiritual lives, the activity sacrificed is sleep.
My problem has never been waking up early. It is laying my head on the pillow at a time compatible with the hour when I arise. There is always something I need to do or want to do. I also feel childish about going to bed before 10 o'clock. Isn't that always the big battle between kids and parents? I remember how grown up I felt when my parents extended my bedtime from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. There wasn't much to do back then. My folks limited our TV watching to 30 minutes per day. There was no Internet or DVD players. When I poll my students, 90+% have cable or satellite television. What a distraction! My students seem more tired than I was as a student. Everyone in my hometown was five minutes from school and while some rode the bus from the country, they didn't spend much time traveling. Some of our students spend an hour and a half per day just making the round trip for school. Today, there are many more school extracurriculars/church youth group activities, along with added pressure to excel on grades and college entrance exams. From my unscientific observation, we are producing a generation of kids who do not get enough rest. I can't say much. Without question, I would feel better with a consistent eight hours of shuteye rather than five or six. On the other hand, I get more done than I ever have while sleeping less. Is it a good trade off? One of my favorite Bible stories is Jesus sleeping on a boat in a squall while his disciples feared they were about to make their graves in the deep. I like to think the Lord was getting his ten minute speed sleep. Rest is important- God rested on the seventh day and made it a weekly holiday for his Israelite children. He also expects us to give our lives in service to Him which, of course, takes time. There is a balance in there somewhere. I like spending time with my parents. I don't have to be anywhere and I don't feel guilty about sleeping in, at least until 7:00 a.m. When the phone rings, it's not for me. When I return to Houston next week, I will be rested and raring to go. That's why the Lord gave us Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. Without those battery re-charging vacations, teachers and kids would implode! Once again, the Lord knows best. Now, I am going to bed and hope that the three very strong cups of Maxwell House don't interfere with my appointment with Mr. Sandman!
Applicable quote of the day.
"To achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep."
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