Yesterday, I was in a bad way. You may remember in a previous post I cautioned you to be certain of what you pray for, as God will take you at your word. My prayer for much of the past year and more has been for the grace to love. Every day I offer that prayer, I am challenged with an opportunity to respond to someone with love. I prayed that prayer yesterday.
Yesterday I was on desk at our tiny - in fact very wee - branch library for six hours. For six hours I was at the disposal of the public with only a standard issue office desk to offer a buffer zone. I'm an introvert (INFJ). Introverts need quiet time, need heaps and heaps of personal space, need to be able to withdraw. Not easy to do when you're sitting in arm's reach of 27 people at any one time.
Yesterday I learned that my tolerance level for being with people dissipates at four hours. Suffice it to say the last two hours were not pretty. I blush thinking about how cranky I was toward the end of my shift. The only thing that kept me going was thinking that I would phone in sick today and would be able to recover. I didn't actually do it, but the thought of it was enough to get me home safely - safely meaning I didn't endanger any lives with my foul temper.
Yesterday I didn't get any sleep at all. Not until after the alarm vibrated across the night stand at 7.00 am. Part of the problem was the stress of the day in a cocktail of the usual daily worries we all carry around. Part of the problem was what I'm sure was a critter of some kind in my room for hours. I don't know what kind he was, nor where he came from. I never actually clapped eyes on him, though I surely did hear little feet scurry across the floor, was positive I could smell him, and even thought I could hear him licking his chops in a sound like a cat makes, wetting its paws during its daily ablutions. The light was on (see sleepless night, above) but I was afraid to look over the edge of the bed. If I did in fact see a raccoon or some other beastie, just what was I going to do about it? I imagined it running over my bare toes as I tried to chase it, or even worse, as I lay there trying to pretend it wasn't there, that it would eventually climb up onto the bed. At long last, I gathered my nerve and examined the floor between bed and door. I mentally rehearsed my route, picturing myself leaping across the room in one quick and unexpected move, pulling the door shut behind me, trapping it in, and protecting me as I huddled in the living room. And that's what I did. Until I got up the nerve to go back and beard the lion in the den - or the critter in my room. I emptied a rubber maid bin of the flotsam and jetsam awaiting my final decision to keep or to toss, and decided if I did see something in my room, I would upend the bin over it to trap it until the landlord could be summoned to deal with it. I'm sure it went to sleep under the bed because I didn't hear much more from it that night, but by then it was too late - no time for slumber and another day of being confronted with the challenge to love as I manned the desk for another shift, this time on no sleep and a slight worry about just what was going on in my room last night.
Tonight I have decided to partake of a tablet of Gravol to help ease the slide into sleepfulness. Tonight I am going to wear ear plugs so that any chance of hearing the licking of chops is slim to none. Tonight I am praying for a good sleep so that tomorrow I can accept the grace to love.
This time I'm praying with caution.