First of all, I don’t know if there are indeed angels floating around somewhere out there on their wings keeping watch over us mere mortals and even if there are, I doubt they get too much sleep. By my reasoning, if there are angels, that means that there’s a God out there somewhere too and he or she is more than likely keeping them pretty busy. That’s especially true when you consider the state of the world today. I’m sure each generation before me has had their share of tumult and turmoil but I don’t know if the stakes have ever been this high. I’m sure they thought the same about their plight too but if they could take a look at what’s going on today, they might re-think their position.
Maybe it has to do with just how instant the news is today . I mean, right there on CNN and Fox News and MSNBC hardly a minute seems to go by without another “breaking story” being told by one those gasping reporters trying to make a name for themselves. For the most part, the importance of the story matters little. Thousands of people are being slaughtered in Darfur, Sudan? Who cares, there’s a police chase right here in America that must be seen to be believed. Earthquake in Pakistan? No can do, somebody in Podunk just had quadruplets.
As for my local news, they don’t seem to fare any better. Besides the incessant bantering about the weather (reported at least four times in the half an hour) and traffic reports, there’s little said about what goes on the world. Car crashes, murder and other assorted types of mayhem take the lead when it comes to the local scene. I think there’s an old saying that goes along the lines that states “If it bleeds, it leads.” If that’s true, then we seem to be hemorrhaging.
Oops, sorry, got a bit sidetracked there…
I guess I’m what might be referred to today as a “reformed Catholic”. While I’ve never officially renounced the faith I don’t exactly embrace it either. Too many questions I had as a kid went unanswered and the school where I went almost likened an inquiring mind to blasphemy and they were swift to mete out punishment in all sorts of different methods. A crack on the ass, a ruler over your knuckles or a slap to the face went a long way to coming to grips with the faith. In retrospect, it was almost like “belief through intimidation” and if you had any doubts you’d be better served keeping them to yourself. As I got older, I pretty much turned my back on the whole religion thing.
Maybe it was about the time that my kid turned two or three that I began our little nighttime ritual. Most parents are pretty familiar with the process and there’s really nothing too fancy about the whole routine but there is a certain comfort that goes along with it.
Getting into the PJ’s (for those of you that know me fairly well, no that’s not my local watering hole that I’m talking about.), brush your teeth, read some bedtime stories and the tucking in of covers and fluffing of pillows. We’d then exchange the proverbial “”night nights” and “don’t let the bed bugs bite” and “sleep good” and then I’d click out the lights and shut the door and we’d try and keep the monsters away.
I don’t know exactly when my last words to her before she closed her eyes for the night were for her to “Sleep the sleep of angels” or even why I said it. I know my folks never said to me and I don’t recall any of my friends that have or had kids mentioning to me that they ever said it. I guess at the time, I just found those words kinda soothing.
Since Anna’s gotten older, most our routine has changed. She goes to bed on her own these days and her bedtime stories are either the ones she makes up in her head or she reads to herself. She almost twelve and her bedroom is getting to become off limits to me. She wants and needs her privacy and while at times I struggle to give it to her, all I need to do is flashback to when I was a youngster to realize just how important that sense is.
One thing hasn’t changed though. Before she goes upstairs and leaves me staring at the television set, I always tell her to “Sleep the sleep of angels”. Onetime, she asked me why I said that. She said that she knew I didn’t believe in religion too much and neither does she. I told she still had plenty of time to make up her own mind about the whole “existence of God” or lack thereof and that she should consider all the angles before making up her mind. I think she wanted to debate the existence of angels and I explained my personal philosophy that I think that they come in all types and sizes and you never knew when you might need one. That seemed to make sense to her and she said…
“Oh, so it’s one of those “just in case” kinda things”.
I couldn’t have said it better myself…