I’ve been exhausted lately. Over the years I had forgotten how tough it can be to get acclimated to a newborn’s sleep schedule – those early morning hours where you just drift off in peaceful slumber only to be jolted awake moments later by a seemingly endlessly hungry micro person. It’s a blessing to have a partner to share this responsibility with – although I’d still say we’re mentally and physically exhausted about 90% of the time. My eyes are heavy – the circles deep – and Red Bull has been my best friend.
As I’ve been easing back into my workload I’ve felt the strain of these sleepless nights – the fragmented patterns when we do get to rest don’t always provide that hard reset we get from an uninterrupted stretch of sleep. It’s been tough to concentrate at times, to organize my schedule the way I typically would and to manage my time effectively. Writing this now, in fact, is quite challenging. If you’re here reading this, I’m assuming that at some point in your life, you knew this exact feeling.
What a blessing it is, though, to be here today. Despite the physical and mental challenges, we might face in times like these it’s amazing to be able and present to care for a brand-new person. It’s so illustrative of the human spirit and form. Despite such a radical shift in our schedule, despite the time and commitment needed to undertake such a task – we are still able to press on, function in our roles and show up. As I sat on my couch wearily this morning in the early hours, I was reminded of how impossible this all seemed given the places I’ve been historically.
Life was so fraught with disarray and pain for so long, not just for myself, but equally so for my family and friends. I was so lost in the nightmare of addiction, so hopelessly enslaved to my worst impulses, that sitting here now with a small child in my arms was unimaginable. For years I thought I’d die living that way and that would be the end of it. I was unable to care for myself, let alone another human being who is completely dependent upon me in every sense of the word.
It’s such a stark contrast. It’s such a miracle that I was freed from that seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It truly provides perspective to me on how tangibly possible it is to escape those miserable times and afflictions and to realize our potential as people and become a part of something bigger than ourselves. The tenacity of the human spirit – the ability to adapt and overcome – is tremendous and filled with endless possibility.
The tiredness, the depression, the anxiety and maybe even the grief (depending on wherever you’re at in your life at this point in time) is temporary. It’s all so temporary when you really think about it. Why is it so hard to remember that when you’re in the thick of it? I sit here today thinking about where I’ve been, about where I am now – about my frustration with how sleep deprived and delirious I feel – and it just popped in my head. Temporary. This will pass. Someday it’ll be a fleeting memory and I’ll wonder where the time went. God has such a great way of reminding us of these principles in moments of discouragement if we have the eyes to see them – and the ears to hear.
My pain in addiction was temporary. It lasted years, but it was necessary for me to move forward. It was necessary for me to gain insight and strength of the spirit – to prepare me for the days to come, days where I can contribute to the lives of others in a meaningful healthy way. When you’ve known true struggle – heartbreak – sadness – loss – your message carries that much more depth and weight in the lives of others. Just like this season now – with a newborn – the sleep deprivation: it’s all just a temporary requirement. It’ll pass too. He’ll start getting on schedule and I’ll laugh at how bleary eyed and dizzying, yet magical, those first few months of a new life are. And how blessed I am to get to be a part of it, no matter how exhausted I get along the way. Temporarily sacrificing my energy to be a part of this today – to be able to be there for someone brand new to this world and all its wonder. It’s a walk in the park, chump change even, to those dark paths I used to get lost down in every waking moment.
I hope you can keep that same perspective today. I hope that even in a tough, tiresome, or stressful time – you and your loved one can someday have the ability to look back and see that God was just laying the groundwork for better days. Alright…Imma go take a nap.
All the love,
Sean – In recovery
You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org