Last evening, I went to bed at 6:45, anticipating working a night shift. One of our aides had called earlier in the day, home with sick children. By early evening, neither she nor I had been able to find another staff person to fill in.
The decision was made that, unless we heard anything, I would just plan on working ‘nights’; I did not have a heavy work schedule on the morrow and could easily catch up on sleep. Plus, knowing in advance, I’d have a chance for a “long [spring] nap” before hand.
Although I went to bed, I had a tough time getting to sleep. What sleep I did get was fitful. Then, at 9:15 p.m., I heard the phone rang. One of the night staff had got his message and had called that he would come in to work; I would not need to fill in after all.
I didn’t quite know what to think. I should be relieved, I guess, to have the night off and some sense of normalcy, but I couldn’t just go back to bed and sleep until 5:18 a.m., as normal.
Plus, I had a couple of details to attend to, which I had planned on taking care of after the shift started at 10.
I re-dressed, went over to my workplace, and took care of business. I thought, however, that I’d better exert some physical energy if I wanted to get a good night sleep the second time my head hit the pillow.
After a few jumping jacks in a private, tucked away corner by the stair well, I had a better idea:
I remembered that, as a kid, my dad had sometimes done “stairs for Lent,” undertaking an activity which, for him, was both penitential and healthy.
(He would walk up and down the stairs repeatedly Minnesota winters are not conducive to outdoor exercise.)
I thought that, on this occasion, “stairs” would be a good idea for me as well.
I know the days of Lent are supposed to include some form of penance. This Thursday of the Fourth Week had really not involved anything for me along this line. “Stairs” would be perfect, both fulfilling my obligation to do some penance and helping me sleep this night. Plus, exercise is healthy, right?
After “doing stairs” for several minutes, I decided that “enough was enough.” Plus, I didn’t want to cause any disturbance for our residents who might be resting. Nor did I want to raise any eyebrows.
After a quick visit to chapel, I got ready for bed, sleeping until my alarm want off at 3:35 a.m. (I had already gotten a couple extra hours of sleep and really didn’t need to sleep in until my normal hour of morning rising.
Here I am now, at 6:01, prayers said and sacristy work done. I have a jump start on this new day!
Sr. Christina M. Neumann
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