I have for as long as I can remember absolutely loved White Christmas. I love looking at the beautiful dresses and the wonderful songs and the charming and tear-jerking story. I love the sense of innocence at a time when so much had changed for our country and the bubbling energy. One of my favorite scenes is when Rosemary Clooney can’t sleep and she goes looking for something to munch on and she encounters Bing Crosby already there and he fixes her a sandwich and a glass of buttermilk and sings her a song about what he does when he can’t sleep.
In the song, he tells her that when he cannot sleep, he counts his blessings instead of sheep and he falls asleep counting his blessings. I always figured when you do that the next morning you wake with a smile on your face because you wake knowing from the first second of the day, how incredibly blessed you are. Not just to have awakened when so many did not, but for all the blessings you counted the night before as you soothed yourself into sleep.
Whenever I try to count sheep before I go to sleep, I end up thinking about should they be fully grown sheep or lambs? If I count lambs, I get distracted in making them different and wonder where their Mommies are? If I count sheep, I wonder if they are sheep for shearing or is someone going to hurt them when they jump over that fence? Then my imagination will add in a black sheep just to mess with me and I wonder what does the black sheep symbolize? I think you can see why I have a hard time falling asleep, because anything too complicated or to simplistic sets my mind to work fixing it.
Now, if I count my blessings, I go to sleep with a smile on my face. Visions of my Grandmommy float through my mind and I am instantly safe and warm. I think of how blessed I am to have a family that though they often do not understand me, always loves and supports me. I think of the plump, big-footed, snoring kitty on her side of the bed and how much she has brought to my life. I think about my friends and the support they give me and just how special each and every one of them is. I realize that so many people are cold and wish they had covers to warm them, or they are wet and wish they had a dry place to go, or they are in harm’s way and long for safety. I say a prayer for the soldiers who keep me safe and for the country that I love. I think of my heritage and all my ancestors endured so that I could fall asleep in my safe, warm bed. I smile when I think of my full pantry and refrigerator, I am so blessed to have food and to know where my next meal will come from.
Then as I turn over onto my side and my body creaks, I realize how wonderful it is that my body moves on its own. What a terrific thing it is to be able to see and hear and to think. As I begin to hum some nameless tune, I am thankful for the talents I have been given, for the imagination that sometimes keeps me awake, for the voice that soothes my kitty when she is scared. I look at my over-filled bookcases as I drift to sleep and smile, because I have a million and one worlds to choose my dreams from.
The last month has had some major challenges for me health-wise, but it has had far more blessings for me health-wise. I lost 10lbs, I am back exercising again, I did not binge eat once all month long and I can feel a difference in my clothes. After 12 years of fighting to finish my first novel, it is finally published and if I only sell one copy, I finished it, I accomplished a goal I set for myself! I have written everyday this month, even the ones where I spent the rest of the day in bed. When I look back on March 2014, it will go in the books as one of the good months, and even there I find a blessing, because I finally realize that there are more good months in the book, than bad ones.
So, tonight, if you can’t sleep, take a deep breath, close your eyes and count your blessings. You will sleep like a charm.
Originally Written: March 26, 2014