A number of years ago, for no apparent reason I started experiencing acute sleeplessness. Whereas in the past I could fall asleep within minutes, suddenly it took several hours to fall sleep. And no matter how long I spent in bed, I never felt rested.
As time went on, I became increasingly exhausted and unable to cope with multiple aspects of my life. I had been raised in a Christian church in Colombia, and had gone to its Sunday School, but it had never occurred to me to turn to God for help. In fact, I was convinced the sleeplessness was a punishment for something I must have done wrong. I turned to all kinds of material remedies, such as antidepressants, melatonin, and even an illegally obtained, highly addictive muscle relaxant. I also drank warm beer and milk on the advice of some well-meaning friends, which I found ineffective and unpleasant. When these remedies failed to help me, as a last resort I stayed at a psychosomatic clinic for six months. I was so desperate, I was willing to try anything. Despite all of these efforts, I continued to struggle with sleeplessness.
Eleven years later, while I was living in San Diego and still dealing with this condition, a very dear couple from Munich came to visit me. They introduced me to a distant relative of theirs who had just moved to my city. They warned me that while this woman was very nice, she belonged to a “strange” religion, and they advised me not to discuss religion with her. Prior to meeting her in person, I had an opportunity to talk to her several times on the phone, and each time, she struck me as very kind. However, fearing she might belong to a cult, I made sure I did not bring up God with her at all.