Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

September 23, 2012

Sleepless Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

A sleepless night!  We all have them!  There are many causes, and we could make a list ad infinitum of reasons.  Then we would probably say we have experienced many sleepless nights and we don’t know why.

There is one sleepless night I remember well.  It was from fear that kept me awake . . . and I mean literally, all night!  There is no question but that I was scared!

Many years ago on one of my adventures, I was travelling high into the mountains of Haiti.  We were some eight to ten hours out of Port-a-Prince.  In the small village there were several “luxury” homes by the standard there.  There were at least two homes built from lumber and had windows that would open, doors, and about three rooms.  I was invited to spend the night in one of these homes.  It would be luxury for me in light of what I would be experiencing.

Following the evening meal, I was given a cot and some covers.  There was not a place in the home for the cot, and I was directed to the outside porch.  The porch was actually a dirt floor, but it did have a canopy that was attached to the house.  I had slept in much more unusual places so it seemed this would be very acceptable.  I did wonder why I could not sleep on the cot in the eating room, but it was not for me to question my host.  I was grateful for much better accommodations than I anticipated . . . or would have for the next several weeks.

Though Haiti is hot and humid, the night air in the mountains required some cover over my body.  My host had provided adequately for me.  It did not take long for me to fall asleep after the arduous journey of the day.

But within minutes I was awake!  Those sounds!  Those loud . . . angry . . .  sounds!  Many, many sounds!  I thought I was sleeping in the middle of a zoo!  I listened intently!  What are the noises?  Was it a jackal?  Wild dogs!  Tiger?  Or some of all?

These were new and disturbing sounds!  I confess fear.  I had no weapon.  It was as dark as dark could be.  I had no light . . . and by now I was aware of movement in the brush and the yard.  I knew there were unwanted guests in the yard!  My first impulse was to go in the house, but surely if there was danger, my host would come for me.  They had to hear the sounds.  I thought to myself that there was no real danger . . . or so I tried to rationalize and convince myself of such.

I felt helpless . . . vulnerable . . . frighten!  I perhaps spent more time in prayer that night than ever before.  And . . . I probably was like a child pulling the covers over my head so I couldn’t see the danger!

But I know I didn’t stay under the covers long.  I wanted to see my enemy!  I do remember removing my belt.  I was sleeping in my clothes and I felt the belt was my only weapon.  I believed that the belt would at least be like a whip or some object to defend myself.  Imagine how tense I was.  There was no possibility of sleep!

One thought I had.  Whatever wild beasts are out there . . . they probably see me as a real delicacy!  I was in an area where only a few of the inhabitants had ever seen a white person — and with the fear I had that night . . . I was very white!  The following days would take me into areas where they had never seen a white man and wanted to touch my skin to see what it felt like.

I must say I did not sleep all night . . . and I was ever conscious of the long trek for the next several days.  What am I doing here?  I could remember asking myself the same question in the jungles of Central America.  Would I ever learn?  But as I had survived on those previous occasions, I was determined to survive that night . . . even if it meant staying awake and alert till day break.

I did have a confidence that the future nights would be different.  They would be spent in small adobe huts, or camping under a brush arbor or in the open . . . but with a fire going and several comrades sleeping around me.

I never knew what was prowling around.  I did know it was more than one!  Whatever it was slipped away before the morning light.  And by then it was too late to sleep.  Everyone else was up and ready to go!

Looking back, I want to believe my praying was one of trust and dependence on God’s divine protection.  He had been there for me in other circumstances . . . and He was surely there that night.  But I must walk every day and sleep every night in a confidence that my God is always there –wherever I am and whatever be the circumstances.  I should not be afraid . . . I should trust in Him and His Word!

“The Lord will keep you from all harm —  he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  (Psalm 121:7,8)



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