There’re times when I fear to go to sleep; most often I’m not; but at times, yes. Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease have recalled this within me. I awoke in extreme vertigo and it was costly. Dread wells up within me, within my soul. Yes, I do have a soul, and I tell each of you I know you have a soul. And I worked decades to name it, that is, my soul, and my dread. It’s emptiness and useless unless I do name it; name it and claim it and someone can help you name it and no one can do it for you. My living and being has not removed my experience’s memory.
Claire Filipone, my aupair, taught me early and well, though her leading me was early in my experience and was just as natural as our nightly tender bedtime ritual for any little one. Claire nailed a haloed Mary glow-in-the-dark icon to the wall near me and I could see haloed Blessed Virgin Mary in my darkness, which kept me, on one side, from rolling out of my bed. In time my desire was linked to my Roman Catholic 1st Communion and hence to continue to my Roman Catholic Confirmation. Prayer memorizing and recitation was the outward and verbal sign of the sufficient inner grace to progress to & through these rites. My little boy pilgrim’s progress I took seriously, though, again, I was unconscious of this. I sensed my father and mother thought them valuable. In reality they were the only rites of passage my two parents insisted upon and attended with me.
I was nervous at my 1st Communion and when the wafer, the Body of Christ, was placed on my outstretched tongue by a resplendently arrayed priest at the altar rail within the grandeur of St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church and backed by so many well-wishers seated behind me, I heaved up Christ, barely keeping Him in my clamped mouth and swallowed again and heaved again and swallowed again. I was a horrified little pilgrim. I could barely sip His Blood. I had no sense anyone noticed. I never spoke of this to my father and mother in my dread and my shame and my horror of upchucking Jesus and His Blood would’ve displeased them. Now I feel my experience hilarious… and my dread is real but small and lurks in the dark, sometimes, as I breathe in and breathe out and watch my thoughts turn into images and I go into my sleep. It's rare for me to not sleep.
Dread is natural and not rare enough and I still use my ‘nite prayers.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin, Amen.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, Amen.
I like these prayers and it’s rare to not sleep.