Monday, October 4, 2010

What keeps you awake at night

Night; makes one feel inconspicuous; provides a restful emptiness; is mysterious by evoking a sense of potential and possibility. Black is the colour of night and so too is the colour of thoughts. There is something about black that makes one feel hidden away in it. Black is the color that absorbs everything. It’s the colour we obtain when we mix various colours. So also when our minds contemplate certain complex waves of thoughts, perhaps our mind becomes like a melting pot mixing contradicting notions and then our feelings become darker and darker until they become predominantly black.

In the still night
In the deepest, darkest night
Where there is no moonlight
Where there’s not even candlelight
Where there’s no light
Under my bed, or in my head
Monsters lurk!

Night is the time when the mind reflects and it is natural that young people’s thoughts turn to the one ‘object of desire’ that captures their imagination, triggers their passion and exposes their vulnerabilities. Not a young man or woman goes through the fleeting fantasy of youth-hood without those sleepless nights, with their minds churning with powerful feelings for that one dimple-cheeked sweet dolly girl or that blue eyed Romeo. Here a story for you to understand the outcome of it all.  

Dolly could not sleep! She looked out of the window; it would take long before the sun rose. She felt very lonely; her world had imploded. She didn’t want to face the day ahead. Tears were streaming down her eyes. Hadn’t God warned her a humpty number of times? -and her parents too that Tom was in reality a flirt and would ditch her sooner or later. Dolly had been so passionately involved about Tom that she had dreamt of him all the time. Yes! He was going to be the man – her man. She had spent many a sleepless night deriving pleasure dreaming of her love. She was so soaked into her dreams that she was prepared to die for them to come true; but she had only waited to see her dreams crash!!!!!

 It all began on a rainy June day, none of her friends had come to college, and in fact only a few students had come. Dolly sat all by herself, wondering what lay in the day’s folded fist.  That is when she saw him, a tall-dark-handsome young guy walking towards her. She acted as if she didn’t notice him but then he sat in the bench next to hers and looked straight into her eyes. A current passed through her body- that was …… the notorious guy of the college -Tom. Was she to…just shun his presence…or be rude to him and cut his friendship right away? After all she was bored? What was wrong in enjoying his company? All her friends had boy friends; probably they thought she was not capable of having one, or pretty enough to. It will be pure friendship and she as ever before would draw a line there.

They began to talk initially about their subjects, then about their lecturers, interesting books and then their own likes and dislikes……The talk was getting more and more personal. Suddenly Tom threw a personal remark on her beautiful hair, smile and her ringing laugh. Never before had she felt so good. She wanted to just keep on talking to him.

When they went to the games ground, she kept watching and admiring the way he played. Indeed he was the best football player of her college! Tom very well knew that he had been successful in making enticing claim to this sweet innocent girl’s virgin heart.

The day came to an end and the NIGHT came and Dolly’s mind was a melting pot of feelings. Tom’s thoughts kept racing back and forth in her mind. She couldn’t sleep the whole night. She didn’t want it otherwise too, for there seemed to be a curious kind of pleasure in imagining, dreaming and inferring warmth out of all that had and had not come to pass. She thought this was what people called as ‘Love’ and that now it had come her way and she had to respond too. But she was in a dilemma about- Was she right?
Dolly was actually a shy girl who limited the world around herself. Although she had many friends, no-one ever understood the deep urges of her heart. She always felt a vacuum within her. She herself could never clearly address her longing, let alone others to ever understand her. With all these thoughts in her head she chose to convince herself that her parents might call her ‘bad’, her friends would have no genuine concern for her, and would use her story as good gossip to spread round. In her mind she convinced herself that she was on the right track.

The next day, she took special interest in adorning herself for Tom. She was waiting to see him. Although it was raining, Dolly decided to go to school pushing away the advice of her parents. How everything about her seemed to have changed so very fast seemed to first shock her! But then her mind convinced her that this was who she was always meant to be. How very obedient she had been to her parents! But now she just wanted them to stay away from her.

Even before she stepped out of the college bus, she saw Tom running towards her with an umbrella in his hand. The story that she had built up in her head last night seemed true and colorful. “Tom really loves me! How much concern he has for me!” were Dolly unspoken thoughts. Tom held the umbrella for Dolly and walked very close to her. A new feeling surged through her - ‘Tom was hers’. Dolly felt proud as her friends looked at her and assumed that it was envy in their eyes.

All advices; from bosom buddies; caring professors and concerned elders fell on deaf ears as more days spent with Tom and even more nights spent dreaming about him kept Dolly in a trance. Though she respected most of the people in that list and distantly understood their concern, long nights spent deriving pleasure out of stimulating and lustful thoughts of Tom overpowered her. The climax was when Tom even proposed to her. She felt vindicated about all her thoughts and energy spent tossing them within her all those several nights.

Then came the unexpected day- It was exactly a year since Tom proposed to her and Dolly hadn’t met Tom for days…She had wondered why he seemed to just avoid her these days. After all everyone knew of their affair; she had even talked it out with her parents. After a lot of hesitation, they had to consent. With questions in her head Dolly stumbled upon Tom in the canteen. Dolly would have shouted a greeting, which was when she saw him touch the hair of Pinky - a popular girl at college who was extremely pretty. She was close enough to hear Tom say- “I have never seen any girl with such pretty hair as yours”. Dolly just turned back and ran.

It was night and Dolly could not sleep! She looked out of the window; it would take long before the sun rose. She felt very lonely; her world had imploded; she didn’t want to face the day ahead. Tears were streaming down her eyes. Hadn’t God, family and friends warned her humpty number of times? She had spent many a sleepless night deriving pleasure dreaming of her love and now the price for those cheap thoughts seem to be painfully high, for the same pleasurable nights seem to come back to haunt her.

Dolly not wanting to face any one in college dragged herself to the college chapel, to cry by herself. Probably the pouring out would pacify her, she reckoned. The verse written on the blackboard brought deep regret to Dolly “I wouldn’t listen to my teachers. I paid no attention to them. And suddenly I found myself publicly disgraced” Proverbs 6: 25 & 35. Well, this was her story too. A special group had come to the chapel that day. As Dolly walked in, God was in the song they sang that day, for it captured the exact words ringing in her heart. It went like this……

She was young and beautiful.
                   She captured my heart with a smile
                    She was anytime on the phone
          I talked to her all the time
                   She said that she loved me
                   And would be with me all my life.
(Oh)But she lied all the time,
She had many others on her mind.
She wasted all my time and made me cry all night.
All these things made me recall Proverbs Chapter 5 

Honey dripped from her lips
Smoother were her words
I loved her more and more
And gave her all of my time
I thought that she is the one
And the only women of my life

(Oh)But she lied all the time,
She had many others on her mind.
She wasted all my time and made me cry all night.
All these things made me recall Proverbs Chapter 5       

The preacher’s sermon was on Luke 15:7 “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent”. Dolly now realized that there was still hope for her. She felt as if every word was spoken just for her. Yes, God had sent his angels there for her sake so that she would repent. How loving and caring this God was, who she had not listened to all these days and all those nights! That night tears of repentance flowed down her cheeks. And in no time love, joy, peace and hope flooded into her heart and an assurance that it comes with no hidden painful costs.

Last night
My Jesus
I cried out
Last night
You filled me
The emptiness
I’d been waiting to fill
You finally filled
Last night

No matter who you are, if you are young you will have to deal with and conquer the NIGHT and its base issues. Not all lessons need to be as painfully learnt as was by Dolly. There is a much easier way. All of Bible shows that God has his own plans for the night. God has revealed himself in visions to so many of his children from Jacob to Paul during the nights; the Israelites were liberated out of Egyptian captivity during the night; Gideon tested God in the night; Nehemiah used the night to scout and sketch the Jerusalem-wall-architecture-project; Lord moved kings like Artaxerxes to do his bidding during the night; God gives His children songs to sing in the night; People have secretly sought Jesus in the nights; and God’s heavenly dew fell in the night to prepare for manna to fall upon it in the morning. So nights can be a revelation, or can be used for preparing yourself to receive fresh revelations for tomorrow or also to communicate a whole range of emotions to God like David did. In the book of Job, the Bible says that in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds, God may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn man from wrong doing and keep him from pride, to preserve his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.

Take care of what you do in the nights, restrain your thoughts or even better, call on Him to share His secrets and reveal His mysteries. And nights will never be the same again. Till that day without letting the night dawn upon us; let the light shine amidst the encircling gloom of the darkest of nights. Be sure to analyze and introspect the moments of the day and repent, correct and redirect your thoughts and life in line to God’s best. Sleep well or dream about God. But choose in between the two; that is good.

So, as you settle in to your cozy bed tonight ask yourself, WHAT KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT? 

Angeline Mariyosh
Angeline Mariyosh works as English teacher in GEMS English School, Bihar & is married to GEMS missionary J.Mariyosh

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