By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist
Since my wife and I returned from Uganda, I’ve discovered a thing or two about jet lag, or, if you want a more impressive term, “desynchronosis.” (I learned that term this morning doing an early morning Google search for “jet lag.”)
Jet lag is a real thing.
It takes longer to get over this “de-synced” situation than I thought. About the time I think I’m over it, I wake up yet again at 3:45 a.m. Then by 5 p.m., I’d cheerfully flop onto a pillow. It’s sad. I’ve always been so good at sleeping.
I’ve also learned that home remedies and medical think-so’s about jet lag vary widely. No surprise. They vary widely on everything else. (Which is why I avoid skim milk. I’m waiting for the research that will tell us how bad it is for us. My own research says it tastes terrible. My research indicating that coffee is good for you was way ahead of the medical findings that now agree.)
On the Internet this morning I found that people over 50 are especially susceptible to jet lag. (I’m exactly 50, so who knows?) No, another article said, young people are particularly plagued by it.
It’s worse when you travel east, one article said. Nope, said another, it’s worse going west. (The exhaustive and exhausting physical research still going on under my hat says, “West”).
But I’ve also learned that 3:45 a.m. is not a bad time to at least make a stab at a few things. (It’s almost always an uninterrupted time.)
It’s not a bad time to pray, though the ethereal fogginess that descends over prayer at such a time probably has more to do with insomnia than holiness. Still, it’s worth a try.
It’s not a bad time to try to write something, though my own experience says that anything you write then had better be re-read and scrutinized a bit later under the light of day.
It’s not a bad time to read. On our trip to Uganda, I took a book with me to start re-reading on the planes. It’s one I read and enjoyed 20 years ago, and I’m enjoying it even more this time around.
Written by Humphrey Carpenter, the book is entitled, “The Inklings,” and it’s about the amazing Oxford writer’s group that included, as the cover says, “J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and their friends.” Two of those guys are among my top heroes and favorite writers, and they used to meet every week to trade ideas and share their work. Amazing. To hear Lewis read from his “Chronicles of Narnia” and Tolkien from his “The Lord of the Rings.” To create such amazing worlds with words.
Ah, but they’d counter that the Christian writer’s job is not to create. Lewis writes that the job of the Christian writer is “simply and solely” to try to “embody in terms of his own art some reflection of eternal Beauty and Wisdom.” If he’s right, and I think he is, to really enter those worlds through words is to become more open to and aware of than ever before the reality of God’s eternal beauty and wisdom in all worlds.
Sound foggy to you? Hey, I’ve been up awhile.