Words for Weary Mothers
Repeat these words after me: It is not my job to run the world.
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Why are we so tired? Have you read a newspaper lately? We long to have the life of Huck and Tom on the Mississippi, but look at us riding the white waters of the Rio Grande. Forks in the river. Rocks in the water. Heart attacks, betrayal, creditcard debt, and custody battles. Huck and Tom didn't have to face these kinds of things. We do, however, and they keep us awake. And since we can't sleep, we have a second problem. Our bodies are tired. Think about it. If 70 million Americans aren't sleeping enough, what does that mean? That means one-third of our country is dozing off at work, napping through class, or sleeping at the wheel (fifteen hundred road deaths per year are blamed on heavy-eyed truck drivers). Some even snooze while reading Lucado books. Hard to fathom, I know.) Thirty tons of aspirins, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers are consumed every day!
The energy gauges on the dashboards of our foreheads say empty. Were we to invite an alien to solve our problem, he'd suggest a simple solution-everybody go to sleep. We'd laugh at him. He doesn't understand the way we work. Literally. He doesn't understand the way we work. We work hard. There is money to be made. Degrees to be earned. Ladders to be climbed. In our book, busyness is next to godliness. We idolize Thomas Edison, who claimed he could live on 15-minute naps. Somehow we forget to mention Albert Einstein, who averaged 11 hours of sleep a night. In 1910 Americans slept nine hours a night; today we sleep seven and are proud of it. And we are tired because of it. Our minds are tired. Our bodies are tired. But much more important, our souls are tired.
We are eternal creatures, and we ask eternal questions: Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is the meaning of life? What is right? What is wrong? Is there life after death? These are the primal questions of the soul. And left unanswered, such questions will steal our rest. Only one other living creature has as much trouble resting as we do. Not dogs. They doze. Not bears. They hibernate. Cats invented the catnap, and the sloth slumbers 20 hours a day. (So that's what I was rooming with my sophomore year in college.) Most animals know how to rest. There is one exception. These creatures are woolly, simpleminded, and slow. No, not husbands on Saturday-sheep! Sheep can't sleep.
For sheep to sleep, everything must be just right. No predators. No tension in the flock. No bugs in the air. No hunger in the belly. Everything has to be just so. Unfortunately, sheep cannot find safe pasture, nor can they spray insecticide, deal with the frictions, or find food. They need help. They need a shepherd to lead them and help them "lie down in green pastures." Without a shepherd, they can't rest.