Fathom Mag

Published on:
July 16, 2019
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2 min.
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We leave our bedroom curtains half open in the summer at night, so our clunky old AC window unit can try its best to relieve the heat. When I can’t fall asleep, I stare out the window and watch the fireflies flicker on and off. Their courtship ritual looks like stars winking. 

In California, I would fall asleep to the sound of crickets playing their bodies like musical instruments. They were so loud - a midnight concert in the park. And for some reason their music comforted me. I liked knowing that my house was surrounded by tall grass and happy bugs. No city traffic or rowdy neighbors. Just crickets and foxes and owls. 

Were we closer when I couldn’t sleep?
Rachel Joy Welcher

Night is a strange time. My thoughts settle like sand, heavy, and shifting. I often feel that I must sort them out before I can really rest. Why did it bother me when she said that? What is happening tomorrow that I’m worried about? Who did I make plans with and did I put it on the calendar? Did I miss his birthday?  Do I pray as often as I used to? Did I set my phone alarm? Did I switch over the laundry? Lord, help me. Help me to calm down. To be okay with stillness. To remember that I do not hold this world in my hands.

Still, there is something I’m forgetting. And do I pray enough? I still haven’t answered that question. I used to pray more when I was single. Didn’t I? Maybe that was just loneliness. Or maybe I am putting my marriage ahead of God. That’s not good. Or maybe I just feel less alone now, and it’s easier to fall asleep. That is good. It used to take me hours to fall asleep. I was so sad. But we were close. Are we still close? 

Is it wrong to be happy? Were we closer when I couldn’t sleep? God, this feels silly. Am I convicted over the right things? And have I confessed all my sins from today? I know I am forgetting something. That is probably pride. If I were more humble, I would be able to recall all my failings. In the Old Testament, they could present you with an offering for sins of ignorance. Sometimes I wish I could just do that. It would be easier. Easier that just accepting that Jesus did it already. That He is enough. That it is finished. That I can go to sleep. 

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine. She earned her Master of Letters in Bible and the Contemporary World from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and has written for The Gospel Coalition, Mere Orthodoxy, RELEVANT, and The Englewood Review of Books. Her book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality, is coming out from InterVarsity Press in 2020. Rachel lives in Glenwood, Iowa, with her husband, Evan, and their dog, Frank. You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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