When I’m worried and I can’t sleep,
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
I couldn’t sleep on the red-eye home. This shouldn’t be surprising considering that I’m 6’5″ and was sitting in a bulkhead seat that robbed me of about 42% of my legroom. I have a habit, when I can’t fall asleep, of thinking back on some advice I read in a letter handed down to me from my grandfather. It’s a letter he received from a family member when he went off to school at Sewanee in the late 1930s. He in turn passed the letter to my Uncle David, who passed it on to me when I graduated from high school.
The letter is filled with wonderful advice (including advice on how to write a good letter: talk about the other person more than yourself). What has always served me well is the advice for what to do when sleep won’t come: don’t try to fall asleep. Lying with your eyes closed, the letter says, think about the things for which you’re grateful. Count your blessings.
I want to share with you the blessings I counted on the plane ride home last night. Granted, sleep didn’t come as easily as Bing Crosby insists it will in the song above, but a calm happiness replaced the sense of unease that can come with not sleeping. I thought about how grateful I am for:
- My beautiful wife, who worked hard all weekend on our new home despite being a single parent.
- My beautiful son, and the chance to wake him up this morning.
- My crazy dogs, who are happy to see me no matter what.
- Large coffee with a shot of espresso. (And yes, when I ordered my coffee this morning, I did say, “Give me a red-eye. I just got off the red-eye.”)
- Our amazing Kidznotes staff; I knew they would be ready and eager to get to work on a Monday.
- Not having to deal with LA traffic.
- My own bed. Nothing like it.
- Tchaikovsky. Marche Slave is still running around my head after Saturday’s concert. What a gift his music is.
- New friends and colleagues. I made a list of all the people I met last week whom I can’t wait to call; it was not a short list.
Tonight I’m hoping that blessing #7 means I won’t have any trouble falling asleep. If I need to, though, I’m happy to follow the advice my grandfather got eighty years ago. I have no shortage of things to be grateful for.