What does fascinate me however about these nocturnal forays downstairs is how sharp my mind is and will be tomorrow too. Okay half way through the day I will need some kind of slap across the face or something to stimulate my digestive system, but generally I know I will be on top form mentally. Another side effect (benefit?) is that I get more emotionally tuned in to things. I mean that things move me more. I relate on a deeper level to the tragedy on the TV news or I find myself able to so empathize with a bereaved person so that I am on the verge of mingling my tears with theirs.
I know it does smack of some kind of loss of control and anyone reading this can be forgiven for thinking that maybe I am on the verge of some sort of breakdown. But a sleepless night does have its benefits, although I would not choose to remain awake like this and certainly not on a regular basis.
Which brings me to the subject of the spiritual disciplines. In the gospels Jesus several times calls on his disciples to “watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38). Jesus himself would spend time with God at all kinds of unearthly hours. In 2 Corinthians 6:5 Paul refers to something called “watching” which I take to be a kind of abstinence, not of eating or drinking, but of sleeping, in order to spend time in prayer. So maybe this is God nudging me awake to spend some time with Him that I could not afford in the day. Maybe it’s a call to “Come away…and rest a while” with Him (Mark 6:31) in His presence? If that’s the case then I am glad to be here, awake, banging the keys with God looking over my shoulder. Just me and Him and the dark hovering behind the bright computer screen on my desk.