It is 3:00 am and I am awake. While the world sleeps on, I am listening to the crickets outside my window. They are signaling the end of summer. Another season passes, another year rolls away. I listen quietly and feel that sad wistfulness that often comes with being awake at this time of the night.
As one author stated, 3:00 am is “the wisest and most accursed hour of the morning.” I believe I understand why she said this. In the middle of the night, when you can’t sleep, you face your real self without all the distractions or pressing details of the day. It is that time of night when you think over your life and wonder if you have measured up to your expectations of yourself and the world.
That hour can be harsh. As you lay silently, images of your past and present creep into your mind. Worries and fears about the future press in upon you. Family, work, relationships, illness and other challenges flood your heart and you can often feel overwhelmed by the complex life you lead. Tears are common at 3:00 am.
But there are a few tricks to getting through the “fourth watch of the night.” You might face a stark reality of your life without the mask of day, but facing these stark realities are also the beginning to positive changes that can be made. Allowing yourself to wander over thoughts of the future and setting reachable goals can give you a new hope for the coming day. Thinking over past accomplishments and good times can also bring a smile to my face and give me courage to continue on.
Yet, there are times when even this does not work for me. There are times when all the cliches and positive sayings just won’t work. It is then I reach for that one force that does not fail me…prayer. Prayer is my key to getting through 3:00 am. My flickering candle of faith is often the only thing that sustains me in that darkest hour of the night.
The answers come softly and gently and the feeling of peaceful reassurance reminds me of times when my mother used to hold me telling me it would all be ok. She’s not here anymore, but the feelings remain.
So on nights like this, when expectations have failed and I look at my life harshly, I remember that there is One who holds me and tells me “It’s going to be ok, Melissa. It’s going to be ok…” And I know that it will be.
Picture credit: http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-woman-lying-bed-sleepless-night-image45620433