It’s Day 35 of Covid-19 lockdown for me and while usually I would make no attempt to timestamp these types of offerings to the universe; I began to notice a few weeks ago that more and more of my friends around the world were beginning to report of sleeplessness. Once reliable patterns of rest and slumber and recovery becoming unreliable in the face of a strange new unknown threat. A symptom for the symptomless, but nonetheless impacted victims of Covid-19.
So amongst the liturgies I have written for this Covid -19 time, I wrote a liturgy for sleeplessness. I wrote it first on hearing the sigh of a dear friend sleepless in the dark skies of New York. I read it to myself watching the dawn rise after another sleepless night. It does not promise to cure your insomnia, but I hope it will comfort you and keep you company in the small dark hours.
This is my gift to you. May you find rest.
A Liturgy for Sleeplessness
At the counting of the hours
and as the ‘un’s’ collect before my eyes
The undone, unsaid and unfinished things in my body
The work of my hands
The unsolved puzzles of my day
May there be rest in knowing there is always something undone that we might sleep and rise tomorrow
The unfelt, unheard and unspoken things that haunt
Swirling in the soft, shadowy edge of the mind
Not enough to wake us but enough to jostle us from deepest slumber
Let my slumber be the safe and soft space for all that is un-
To become part of tomorrow, safe for tonight without needing my concern, my worry, my energy.
For today, I have given all portions and allotments that belonged to it.
But for the catchment of hours left in the night before dawn, grant me abundant mercy as I wander long hours in the small darkness, awake or dreaming.
Give me strength for the dawn. Satisfy even the curiosity of the deep night I find myself aware of.
May the alchemy of body and mind, mystery of eyes responding to light and noise relent — to the tonic of sleep; the easy weighted fall of eyelids, the slowing rhythm of breath.
I lay down into the rhythm of the hours and surrender to them, even the most unwilling parts of me. Grant me mercy in slumber and keep me there.
I offer my evening prayer to the morning and ask for the unknown knitting together of fibres, for entering the healing of deep rest.
For the peace and end of the day, done and undone, and for sleep.