16 comments on Dust
1 minute

Sleep comes slowly most nights, and not at all if I try it in my bed. So I lean back onto the family-room couch, pillows behind my back, a stiff but warm blanket wrapped around me when it’s cold. I watch cartoons, sometimes with a bourbon or scotch in my hand, for as long as it takes.

I pray there, cartoons muted, unburdening my worries onto God. I’m so glad he has broad shoulders to set them on. He never complains, never tells me to get on with it. He just listens. When I remember, I thank him for blessing me as he has, and I ask him to remind me to count those blessings. I feel foolish that I feel my worries so much more acutely than my blessings. My blessings have been so powerful, while my worries change with the seasons. But worries shout so loudly.


Lately I’ve been dozing off to old Popeye cartoons. Their simple stories charm me, distract me, help me let go. Most of the time I wake up in the middle of the night, shut off the TV, and finish sleeping in my bed. Sometimes I sleep through the night facing the TV.

Before sleep began to elude me, my bedroom was always the dustiest room in the house. Now it’s the family room. I wish my worries would settle like the dust on the coffee table, and be as easy to wipe away.


16 responses to “Dust”

  1. Tori Nelson Avatar

    Jim, sleeplessness might be what I need because this post is perfectly written. Prayer is a great relief, isn’t it? I can’t imagine keeping all my worry bottled up in this one, little head.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Tori. Ah, the unknown future. I’m trying to face it squarely. Help from God is essential.

  2. Fitwellmom Avatar

    Prayer saves me from my worries because it is a reminder they’re not supposed to be mine. Sometimes I have a vision in my head that he is standing over me with his hand out waiting for me to hand over all those worries. I check my pockets, the bottom of my shoes, in my purse…they can hide anywhere :) Love your post. You have a way with words! Thank you.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I feel things acutely and HAVE to talk it out to release it, so thank goodness God is never too busy.

  3. Kaitlin Avatar

    Jim, I know how you feel. Sometimes it’s so hard to let your worries and anxiety go. When I can, I remember this line from White Christmas (the movie), “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep. And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” Hoping you feel better soon.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Oh, I’m not feeling particularly bad. I’m just looking to find ways to let go of worry and live a more joyful life.

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    “Their simple stories charm me” That’s because they’re saying subliminally “Don’t sweat the small stuff Jim”.
    It all works out! It does. Believe me! You need to acquire an attitude.
    Don’t think too far ahead. Think about the now. What’s happening at that moment. It’s ok to have a plan for the future, but don’t harp on it. You’re worries are your imagination taking flight. On a nightmarish ride. Take life day by day, not month or year by year.
    (your sounding like my husband-worlds biggest worry wort).

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’m sure you’re right. I come from a long line of anxious people, so at least I come by this honestly.

  5. Ernest Spadafore Avatar

    I have found that a good way to get rid of worry (anxiety) is to remind myself of the many things I have to be grateful for (even practical things like my bedroom ceiling fan; the hot water dispenser at the kitchen sink)) and that seems to help me. The important thing for me is not just being grateful in a general way, but to identifying specific things for which I am thankful. Cultivating a lifestyle of appreciation every day of my life, despite the circumstances. You might want to consider reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book entitled “Choosing Gratitude – Your Journey to Joy” (Moody Publishers). My thought and good wishes are with you.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’ve written about my gratitude practice here before – it definitely helps.

  6. kiwiskan Avatar

    There’s an old hymn that goes ‘I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future’. That knowledge gives me peace. But sometimes I still don’t sleep well at night!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Yup – that’s where I am too.

  7. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Wow… if nothing else, you’ve certainly got the makings of the opening of a compelling short story. I know it springs from life, and I don’t mean to make light of it… but it really feels like the rocket’s on the pad here. Maybe if you expanded it into fiction, you might uncover some powerful reality. I don’t know… just spitballing here.

    I get what you mean. For years, ever since I first got a tape recorder as a kid, I’ve soothed myself to sleep with familiar stories, shows, movies. Since then it’s moved on to VCRs, DVDs, and lately stuff stripped from disks and put on a hard drive attached to a little laptop near my bed (ST:Voyager, anynerd? :) ). A lot of TVs these days have a sleep timer, and that can be useful. But so can waking up to the narrative again.

    A lot of folks here have good advice. I know none of us means to minimize your troubles, but yeah, when you think about how bad human life has been for thousands of years, and how bad it can be pretty much anywhere outside the First World even now, it can be calming to reflect that most of our problems today are, at least to some degree, within our power to change, or ameliorated by our society.

    Gutsy post. Deeply human. You’re a genuinely admirable guy, Jim, in so many ways.

    1. Jim Avatar

      It did take some guts to post this. It’s more personal than I normally get. But this has been on my mind lately and I wanted to see what happened if I put it out there. Predictably, there were some who expressed real concern for me. I think it’s misplaced; I don’t think I’m that different from anybody else. We all have our issues. I was just willing to admit one of mine here!

      I wish I had fiction in me. I just don’t. I used to, back when I was young, but it’s been knocked out of me somehow.

  8. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    God, Bourbon and Popeye sounds like a great combo Jim. I turn 50 in a few days been many a sleepless nights around here, I look into my future and see the end some days and other days I see a future with new opportunities. I am now just trying to figure out which one wins.

    1. Jim Avatar

      The one you think about most wins!!!!

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