Sometimes we are tired but can’t sleep. Insomnia, an unresolved issue, reliving some cutting remark, a child on Christmas Eve. No matter how hard you try, it’s not happening.
There are other times your body wants to sleep but your mind knows it can’t. Working overtime, making a long trip, standing guard. Sleep beckons but you must not listen.
There is another kind of fatigue in a category all its own. It’s the fatigue of loss.
On December 3, 1959, C. S. Lewis wrote to Sir Henry Willink. His letter was in response to Willink’s news that his wife, Cynthia, had passed away. Lewis was aware of what Willink was facing: loneliness, depression, and fear. And one more thing,
“You are probably very exhausted physically. Hug that and all the little indulgences to which it entitles you. I think it is tiny little things which (next to the very greatest things) help most at such a time.”1
Sometimes we want to sleep but our mind refuses. Sometimes we want to sleep but our will refuses. Sometimes we’re not sure we should sleep only to find out nothing would be better.
“for he gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1102.