You could feel the buzz in the air. The shopping center was filled with individuals, couples, and families enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations and sales. With the conversations, negotiations, and parental attempts to manage kids on the edge of chaos, there was a tangible sense of excitement. In the crowded aisles, people jostled to move forward while wearing a smile. Everyone was alive! The year of the Dragon had arrived.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple trying to maneuver through the masses. Their faces reflected an unusual sense of calm. As I watched, I realized they were pushing a stroller. On closer examination, I saw their young boy fast asleep, oblivious to the world around him.
The contrast was a paradox. How could anyone, even a child overwhelmed by exhaustion, sleep in this chaos? The noise level dominated the senses. I was struggling to think beyond my next step. It was hard to imagine that someone could tune out mixture of voices, laughter, and crying. I would not think that it was possible except I was looking at a living example. The blissful face, relaxed posture, and total trust painted a picture of something more.
I watched the family until they were lost in the crowd. I could hear David’s words repeating in the back of my mind; “At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together.” (Psalm 4.8) It was easy to imagine that the parent’s called the child by the same name.
As the day gave way to a fading sunset and oncoming darkness, I realized that I was exhausted. The heat, noise, and chaos of the day had taken its price. Life had demanded more than I had been prepared to give. Sleep was demanding that I give way. I could hear the echo of David’s words again. At times it is hard to imagine that they are true. I had witnessed a child’s statement on the subject and realized it could be your story and mine as well.