The non-stop political banter and back-biting
The rapid pace of online debates
The reality of my girl leaving home in less than four weeks
Unexpected family health issues
The combination of them can be exhausting. Despite my fatigue, my brain sometimes insists on performing mental gymnastics at bedtime. In these instances sleep evades me or, if it comes, is fitful. The next day I am on edge, more weary and more sensitive than the day before.
I have finally put the merry-go-round behind me with the comfort of an evening ritual. I wrap the last 30 minutes of each day in beauty and truth.
I set my Pandora station to Yo-Yo Ma Radio, pick up my stack of books and crawl into bed.
First, I read soothing prose. This is not the time for an exciting, keep-me-on-the-edge-of-my-seat read. I deliberately seek a calming, rhythmic pace. Wendell Berry is a favorite choice.
Afterwards, I spend a few moments with the wisdom of Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart. Her straight-forward, unwavering faith in God sharpens me and shifts my focus from the things of this world.
Finally, I read a Psalm. Other Scripture may challenge me, give me much to ponder, or encourage me, but the Psalms quiet me. I find my brain filled with praise as I drift off to sleep.
It's still unbelievably hot. Politicians still anger me. Online debates still sadden me. My girl is still leaving and someone I love is still hurting. The circumstances of my life haven't changed, but my ability to face them has. And that has made all the difference.
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.