As I prepare for working an overnight shift, I have to remain awake until morning. Twenty-five years ago, midnight had a different effect in my life. At that time, I was a single mother residing in welfare housing. Fear overtook the night with drive-by shootings and drug trafficking.
Fifteen years ago, I worked on a crisis hotline and got off at midnight. The last two years were spent helping my daughter with midnight feedings and diaper changes for my grand-babies.
For the first time, I will be working all night and sleeping during the day. It will be an adjustment but may have some benefits. During the day, I can sleep and avoid the outdoor heat of the day. At night, most of the population is asleep. Offices are closed and crowds are gone. The element we deal with at night will be handled by morning because everyone eventually has to sleep.
This time, I am prepared for the shift mentally. I’ve learned that the world goes on but for the person in crisis, I may be the lifeline to get them through the moment. I may not have the answers but can get the resources to them quickly.
In the still of the night, there is comfort in the light of the moon. As morning approaches, I can still see it faintly. I talk to it as if it were a friend, bidding it goodbye until the evening comes around again.
While in the safety of my work environment, I know that somewhere out there are individuals facing a difficult night. I remember my own difficult nights and can empathize. I am willing to change the sleep pattern in order to make a difference.
As adults become elderly and enter care facilities, the nights may be times of loneliness, missing loved ones and depending on medical care providers. Each stage of life comes with its own unique joys and sorrows.
For now, this is a quiet and peaceful time. My husband works from home. We will be working opposite shifts but while he works, I will be sleeping in the other room. Just like a child, I am comforted in knowing that he will be there to protect me while I sleep.
As I sit here trying to stay awake until morning, this is an interesting reflection. My children are all grown and moved away. I can’t be there to protect them anymore but pray that God will keep a watchful eye over them while they sleep.