God the insomniac

Boundless grace

My favorite theological joke is the old chestnut that asks: What do you call an agnostic dyslexic insomniac?

Answer: Someone who lies awake at night wondering if there is a dog.

In retelling this joke, I mean no disrespect to those who struggle with dyslexia—or to agnostics, for that matter. As for insomniacs, I am one. Apparently insomnia is a family trait. My mother often lies awake at night. Her father (my grandfather) was a man of immense energy who routinely read until 1 or 2 a.m. even though he had to get up for work at 6:30.

I recall lying awake as a child, listening to murmurs of the television shows my parents were watching. As an adult I developed the sometime and uneasy rhythm of one night of wakefulness until 3 or 4 in the morning, followed by a night of a full eight hours’ sleep. I decided long ago not to lie awake in the dark. Instead I read or listen to music.


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