Last night was difficult. Do you have those nights? You’re supposed to be sleeping, and you kind of are, but each time you wake, instead of rolling into warm sheets and falling back into dreams, you catalogue the scary indicators that suggest there’s trouble ahead.

For me these are hard-to-describe sensations in my chest – wee signs that, at any moment, my heart could slip out of the right rhythm. To avoid this, I have to breathe carefully, turn slowly and prop myself on several pillows. Not restful. Stressful.

Waking in the morning was worse than the night. It took ages to coax my body from sleep into a gradual wakefulness without triggering the episode I’d been trying to avoid all night.

Then, mid-way through the day, it happened anyway.

I woke up, showered, ate, picked up some groceries, delivered flowers to a friend, began a work-from-home shift, chatted with my daughter and husband. Did normal things.

But I didn’t feel normal.

Sometimes I forget why. I just wrestle with this sense of not-rightness. I feel edgy. Struggle to concentrate. The calm that is typical of my interior landscape isn’t there.

And then, working slowly and steadily through a monotonous administrative task that steadied my breathing without me even realizing it, my heart settled. I hardly noticed. A few minutes passed. A sense of peace came over me. I realized that I felt like myself again and I wondered why.

Then I realized: I’m okay; it’s over. The episode is done. I can breathe. Instead of a jittering mess of electrical misfires, my body has stilled and it feels good.

Does this happen to you?

Do symptoms you’ve grown used to create a familiar but awful backdrop for some days? Gloominess tinged with desperation shifting through your thoughts as you try to appear normal? Anxiety tightening your chest as breathing becomes rapid and difficult? Chronic pain shouting louder than those talking to you? Do symptoms sometimes undermine your sense of well being like they do mine?

Some days are harder than others and some moments are just a bridge you have to cross to get somewhere better. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m longing to be there until I arrive: a better moment.

Really hard days leave me emotionally numb and I turn to music, again and again, for comfort. The right song can stir me back to life, reminding me that there is still beauty in the world. Often, I intentionally lift my soul to God through worship, reaffirming my faith in His goodness and love.

Here’s one I want to share with you – a song I found a few weeks ago:

Broken and Open by Nicole Serrano

And a second one just for fun – I like this one because it reminds me that God is closer than we think – He is all around us, if we’ll just open ourselves to His presence (I’m not sure if this is the intended message of the song, but it’s the one that plays through my mind when I hear it):

Ordinary Day by Melanie Penn



Climb into God’s lap during moments of crisis — turn your face towards His and allow Him to restore your balance. Settle in His arms. Let Him be your place of safety during times of distress.

– Strong Spirit: Hope for Women Living With Illness page 39


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