“Paula… I can’t sleep”. Her big brown, tired eyes stare up at me as she wipes away a tear. “Will you pray for me?”  I pull her into a hug and rub her back as I ask Jesus to please help her sleep. She climbs back into bed and pulls the covers back over her head.

I remember those days. There was a time when I couldn’t sleep either. I would get myself all worked up about getting to sleep, that when I tried, I was too anxious and would just lay there making myself more and more upset. Sometimes I woke up Marta or Corrie… sometimes I just laid in my bed and cried.

Five minutes.

“Paula?” She’s back at my side. “I still can’t sleep” this time, she tries to keep from sobbing. I ask her if she’s tried reading. “I just don’t feel like it”.  I kiss her forehead and ask if she’s tried stretching. Her tired, sad face turns into a smile as she realizes what she’d forgotten. As I finish brushing my teeth, she stretches, and then climbs back into bed. Covers back over her head. “Paula, will you be awake for a little while?” she whispers over the sound of her fan.

“As long as you need me to be.”

Five more minutes. “Paula?” This time she peaks around the side of my bed. Her eyes are red and swollen. I sit by her side. “I just don’t like to be the only one awake.”  We talk, I pet her hair and help calm her down. Her crying turns into soft giggles and her body starts to relax. Her eyes get heavy and she starts to yawn. I kiss her forehead. “I’ll be right over there, if you need me.”

I’m glad I can be here to help Bethany. Help her not feel afraid. Help her relax. I can stay up a little later, just to help her know somebody’s there for her.  Besides, she’ll probably be asleep in five minutes anyway.