She wakes at 3 AM with memories of a "blue furry thing on the bathroom ceiling." I'm groggy, having only been asleep for a couple of hours. "Like Cookie Monster?" "No, Mommy, Cookie Monster can't get into our house. Remember you have a rule about monsters in the house." "Oh, that's right."
Her eyes refuse to close and my eyes refuse to close watching her eyes. She analyzes shadows for danger. I am holding her. We listen to her sleepy-time music again. At 4 AM, she's still fear addled and sleepless.
I sing to her....my God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do...
The stars are His handywork, too.
I will admit something to you: I couldn't sleep alone until I was 12.
Fear, the shape that fills us when we momentarily forget: love. I tell her I love her, that God loves and protects her. But how do I make her FEEL this, to replace this terror with the warm constant comfort of His love, the goodness of His makings and doings? I sing again. God is bigger than the Boogie Man. He's bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV. She soothes for a moment.
5 AM: Mommy, I just need to talk to you.
I sneak into one of my younger sisters' beds. Even the small, warm assurance of a foot against my foot comforted, stilled. I would sleep and wake ashamed that I had no courage.
I can sleep in the empty farmhouse alone. And I'm not afraid.
How is this even possible?
I sleep walk, stumbling into the living room mumbling, cold-sweated, disoriented. Mom leading me back.
Now, I simply leave no space of my heart unoccupied. I let Him in: The knocking at the window was real.