A few weeks ago, I saw the crescent moon hanging in the evening sky and worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. The waxing moon casts a sleeping spell on me and brings insomnia to my pillow. I went to bed on time, but by 3:00 the shadows from my neighbor’s overzealous security light were dancing on the ceiling overhead. Insignificant worries circled my head like some surreal merry-go-round full of pale horses of woe.
I got on the merry-go-round when I began to beat myself up over a scheduling mistake that could potentially cost me a few hundred dollars. That led to fears of not having enough money for an upcoming trip I wanted to make with my wife. Then I worried about the arrangements of said trip and its details. Those details reminded me of things I still needed to prepare for an upcoming church assignment. The preparation I needed to complete reminded me that I needed to rearrange my schedule. Rearranging my schedule made me stress about the mistake I made, and it started all over again twirling around in my head with some macabre music playing in the background.
After about thirty minutes on that fruitless merry-go-round, I decided I wanted off. I slipped out of bed, put on a robe, and went downstairs. As I quietly closed my bedroom door, I heard the icemaker dump a load of ice in the fridge downstairs. It struck me as odd that I noticed it. I padded down the stairs and stood before the fridge. The neighbor’s security light bathed the kitchen in enough light that I didn’t need to flip on the overhead light. I yanked open the door to fridge and pulled out the milk. The jug wasn’t very full so I twisted off the cap and chugged the rest of it down, hoping that it would help me sleep.
As I waited for the lactose to lull me to sleep, I decide to sort my mail. I grabbed the stack from my box and plopped down on the stairs to shuffle through the stack of insurance advertisements, credit card offers, and home mortgage refinance offers. While I sorted the mail, I heard one of the dogs scratching himself vigorously at the top of the stairs. Almost everything in the mail had something to do with money. Of course all of those advertisements about money reminded me of my expensive blunder, and the merry-go-round of inconsequential worries started up again.
By 3:30 am I had sorted all of my mail, and my dog was still scratching. I could hear the tag on his collar jingle every time his foot thumped against the floor as he tried to relieve his itch. I figured that it was his form of insomnia, but when I checked on him I saw that he had scratched himself until his fur was red with blood in several places. I petted him and tried to calm him. Some troubles are like his itch. They aren’t serious, but we can’t stop scratching them. So, we scratch away until we draw blood over nothing.
After he calmed down and stopped scratching, he took a drink and came back to sit beside me. I petted him until he fell asleep and I could put something on his paws to prevent further damage. I calculated his age. He was getting old, but then again, so was I. Here we both were wasting our night away scratching at an itch that we could never satisfy.
I slipped away from him and threw away the junk mail. Then I went back to the fridge and found a chocolate malt protein drink hiding in the doorway. I wondered if it might help. I read the label and laughed. The words, “contains no milk” were plastered below the brand name that included the word “milk.” It was almost as ironic as me losing sleep over worrying about losing sleep. I checked the date and chugged it on down. Then I made a list of all the horses on my merry-go-round so I could deal with them in the morning and slipped around my itchy dog now fast asleep on the stairs to my comfortable bed in hopes of going back to sleep.
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