Courage at Twilight: Late into the Night

I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for work.  Noticing the glow from the living room lights, I looked over the railing and saw Dad still in his recliner, covered with a crocheted afghan, still reading his book.  “Hi Dad,” I whispered down to him.  “Are you going to go to bed soon and get some rest?”  He looked at the clock, looked up at me, and nodded a sleepy smile.  To be up all night was unusual.  It must have been a compelling book.  Often, I will awake at 2 or 3 a.m., needing to use the restroom, and Dad will be reading, or sometimes sleeping with the open book on his lap.  As much as he loves reading late into the night, the later he reads the less he sleeps and the worse he feels.  An all-nighter can ruin his energy for all of the next day.  One day when he seemed to feel particularly sick and weary, I asked him, “How do you feel today, Dad?”  “I feel awful,” he said.  “I was bad last night and read until 3:30 before I went upstairs to bed.  Now I’m paying the price.”  I remonstrated with him for associating the word “bad” with an activity he loves, which keeps his mind sharp, which enriches his life.  “There’s nothing bad about it,” I reassured him, adding that the later he read, the more he would need to rest, perhaps.  “What do you think about going to bed before midnight tonight?” I suggested.  “I just can’t do it,” he craved.  “I have to read, or my day will not be complete, and I won’t be able to sleep.”  Read on, Dad.

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