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You Could Hear the Monkeys

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - My soon to be 14 year old dog is dying. She is suffering from an affliction that not only causes her joints to be stiff and painful but also makes her insatiably thirsty. Our prescription is simple; keep her water dish filled at all times and administer her medicine when needed. This is completely manageable during daylight hours and even into the evening. It is when we go to bed that the real challenges begin. Despite filling an industrial sized dog dish with enough water to put out a small forest fire, our darling doggie usually begins crying for more at about 2am. Once that is gone it is time for more at 4am, and then a final dousing at about 5:30am. The lull periods between hydration are usually spent in the backyard waiting for the dog to dispense her ample reserves of H2O.

Needless to say, I have not had a good night’s sleep in about six months. So, whenever I get the opportunity to spend a night away from home I jump at the chance. I know this sounds horrible but this man needs to sleep once in awhile.

Such an opportunity came two weeks ago when my boss asked me to accompany him and another colleague to Atlanta for a meeting. I was ecstatic! We would fly in the night before so we could spend the entire next day with a potential vendor. But more importantly, I would be able to sleep uninterrupted for an entire night.

From the time our plane touched down I could hardly control myself for I knew I was only a few brief hours from an REM sleep rendezvous. I was giddy. But first, my esteemed colleagues wanted to have dinner. Fine, fine, fine, I thought, a meal would serve as the perfect elixir to make me feel drowsy.

As we dined, one of my colleagues mentioned that the hotel we were staying at featured something in each room called “The Dream Machine”. According to him, this device was designed to help you sleep better, longer, and deeper, through a series of exercises featuring the sounds of the ocean, the rainforest, and even a jungle setting. This was too good to be true. Not only was I destined for a night of solitude sans thirsty dog but it would be enhanced by the latest in sleep technology.

I literally floated down the hotel hallway knowing what awaited me in just a few short minutes. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep. As I opened the door to my room and flicked on the light switch, it was as if a golden shaft of light was beaming down upon “The Dream Machine”. There it was, in all its glory, resting majestically on the night stand beside my bed.

As any person desperate for a good night’s sleep would do, I dropped my luggage, shed my shoes, and slipped beneath the covers as quickly as I could. Any evening routine such as brushing my teeth or exchanging my clothes for pajamas would have to wait. I had a date with destiny … or in this case the vaunted “Dream Machine”.

It was shortly before midnight and I did not have anywhere to be until 8am the next morning. Extracting an hour for showering and getting dressed, I calculated that I had roughly seven glorious hours to sleep. It was dark, I was definitely sleepy, and my dog’s water dish was 600 miles away. I reached to turn out the light and in one deft motion pushed the play button on “The Dream Machine”.

A soothing woman’s voice greeted me almost immediately:

Welcome to a journey of deeper sleep, more vivid dreams -- welcome to a world of slumbering comfort … this is the Dream Machine.

Let us begin with some eye exercises to prepare you for your journey.


While closing one eye, open the other just as widely as you can. Select a spot on the ceiling and focus on it with your open eye.

I must admit that I felt a little like Popeye the Sailor Man biting down on his pipe as I did this but if this is what it took to “journey into a world of slumbering comfort” I was all for it.

Allow the swirling pure air to penetrate into your open pupil. Do you feel the comfort permeating into your body?

Not really. It felt sort of like typical hotel room air. A bit stale but cooled to meat locker temperatures by the air conditioner set to 57 degrees.

What happened next is a blur. I had either fallen asleep or the “Dream Machine” had run amok. When I came to my senses I could hear waves crashing on the shore while a distant osprey called to me from the darkness. I rolled over to see what time it was. 12:47am.

I shut my eyes again. What felt like only a few seconds turned out to be nearly an hour. It was now 1:38 am. The soothing woman’s voice was back and this time she was transporting me from the ocean to the rainforest.

Set yourself free. Feel the soothing rain drops falling on your tendrils as you are transported to a rain forest far way.

What is a tendril I wondered and why could I hear the sound of tribal drums beating in the distance? Were the tribesmen coming to get me? The drumming would grow louder and then fade into what sounded like a symphony of giant crickets. Occasionally, I could hear the monkeys conversing in the distance.

Finally, at 2:30am I had had enough. For my own sanity, I needed to shut the “Dream Machine” off and dream a little dream on my own. There was only one problem. In the darkness, I could not find the off button. Furthermore, I couldn’t find the light switch. Rather than fumble around in the dark, or have to get up out of bed, I made a bedtime decision to wait it out. How much longer could this thing possibly go on?

Thirty minutes to be exact. The rain forest eventually gave way to the trumpeting cries of the elephants and eventually the trickling waters of a glacial mountain stream before the soothing voice declared:

Goodnight dear one. May sweet dreams be yours.

I was exhausted, stressed, and filled with anxiety. My big chance for a night of uninterrupted sleep was half over and I had nothing to show for it except a greater appreciation for tribal drumming. Even worse, I was wide awake.

Rather than subject myself to another round of “The Dream Machine”, I opted to dig out my Bible and read some verses related to finding peace and rest in God. Here is one that really resonated with me in the wee hours that morning.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Circumstances change, environments change, people change. God doesn’t. God’s peace offers security, health, tranquility, contentment, and friendship. It even provides a peace between God and others. Peace on earth is present in the heart and life of the person who through faith in Christ is brought into a right relationship with God.*

Deep thoughts for such an early morning I know. But ultimately, what I derived from this passage is that peace is spiritual tranquility. It is a gift from God.

When the time to rest finally comes and our world stops spinning for a few moments, we sometimes can’t settle down. It is in times like this that Jesus says to come to Him. The rest He gives us is complete and His burden is light.*

These are comforting words to sleep on.

Information used in this article from The Transformer Study Bible.

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