Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord
If I should die
before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
A prayer that is taught to children to say every night before they go to bed. Usually followed by "God bless mommy, daddy, etc., etc." The last half of the the prayer has always disturbed me on some level, I always worried about the possibility of dying in the night time. There were several nights when I was a child that I would be absolutely convinced that I would die if I fell asleep. It was destined that I die tonight, I thought, so I stayed awake crying, not wanting to die.
This would go on until my mom came in and checked up on me and found me crying. I never told her why I was crying, I just asked her to sleep in my bed with me, and she obliged. Eventually I calmed down enough to sleep, and would wake up good as new in the morning.
We are so vulnerable in our sleep. My mother told me that my dad asked her to check to see if my sister and I were still breathing even when we were teenagers. I'm glad that they were so protective.
I've grown out of "Now I lay me", but I still pray every night before I go to sleep, despite my hit-and-miss faith. I guess old habits die hard.