It is 7 AM, and I have been awake for almost 2 hours. Not by choice on this Sunday morning that I was prepared to sleep through.

I lay in bed for an hour trying to get back to oblivion. Obviously…that didn’t work. Instead, I lay, acutely conscious of the sound of my blood flowing through my head.

This endless rhythm that I became aware of a couple of nights ago is teaching me.

(Well, not endless. It isn’t endless.  I know that. It just feels that way at 12 or 2 or 5 in the morning. Actually, I am very thankful that blood is flowing through my head. And every other part of my body. And I hope it does for years and years.)

Anyway…as I lay there, acutely conscious, I made up a new word. Hypersensitivialityism. Like it?

hy·per·sen·si·tiv·i·al·i·ty·ism: being overly sensitive to trivialities and ending with an “ism” because, as Grandpa Vanderhoff said,  “When things go a little bad nowadays, you go out, get yourself an -ism and you’re in business.”

I don’t know why I can suddenly hear my blood flow. But I’m glad that I can’t always hear it…or all the other workings of my body. Wouldn’t that be annoying? It would be like living, working, breathing and sleeping in a large, noisy factory of valves and pressure and machinery. I’m thankful that my hearing isn’t overly sensitive. What if it was? What if I could hear all that was said or dropped or slammed in the neighbors’ houses? What if I could hear all the cars in the county? What if all the trivial noises all around us were suddenly amplified by 50. Yikes.

Yet I love so many sounds: rain on the roof. laughter of loved ones. ocean swells. baby snuggles. happy sighs. wind through pines. whistles. bird songs. guitar strums. mormor’s swedish accent. thunder rumbles. echos. voices of friends. deep cello notes. pounding surf. rushing rivers. harmonies.

And on and on and on.

Yesterday, I had a migraine. My migraines are beginning to fascinate me, where once they simply aggravated. Yesterday’s was particularly interesting. I had pain, but since it wasn’t debilitating, I spent the day noticing hypersensitivialityism. To everything. I was nervy…in every way.

My olfactory nerve was working overtime, let me tell you. I ended up opening windows all over the place. And there is still something in the fridge that needs to be found and disposed of. But yesterday was not the day for the job. Trust me on that.

So many wonderful fragrances, but somehow an overly sensitive olfactory system would be a curse. Still, I am so thankful for the smells I love: rain. daffodils. fresh-baked bread. herbs cut out of the garden. line-dried sheets. coffee. clean babies. mormor’s night cream. papa’s basement. home. rocky mountain air. pine needles. the ocean. balsam pillows from Suze. vanilla.

And on and on and on.

I love sunshine. But yesterday, after the clouds disappeared, the sunshine literally made me wince. When I was driving back from town, bright flashes of light caused pulses of searing pain that I couldn’t believe. Normally, I don’t blink twice about shadow lines on the road, or chrome bumpers and car doors tossing reflections around like clowns juggling two-edged swords. I am so thankful that I do not always experience hypersensitivialityism in this way. I don’t want to walk through life in dark, shaded places. I love light.

It’s easy to talk about hypersensitivialityism on the physical level. But it goes deeper than that. I told you….I was nervy in every way yesterday. I was amazed at the things that irritated and grated on me. There are times when a life of solitary confinement would be beneficial to me…and all around me. Maybe I can just leave that there. This blog post doesn’t have to become a confessional.

Yes, hypersensitivialityism relates to emotions as well. I am so thankful for emotions. Living life numbly is no way to live. Trust me on this. I know. Living life with love, excitement, happiness, depression, anger, sadness, peace…such a blessing. Such a very mixed blessing.

But how often do I allow myself to be angry and depressed and sad just because of hypersensitivialityism? How often do I assume I know another’s motivation or meaning when the cause of pain is merely miscommunication or misdirection? How often do I allow guilt or anger to rob my joy or steal my peace because I can’t let go and trust? How often do I miss out on valuable instruction because hypersensitivialityism doesn’t let me accept criticism honestly?

Sensitivity is good. I want to be sensitive to the feelings of those around me. Seems like it would be pretty vital to good relationships, actually. And I want to be sensitive to God’s direction and instruction. I don’t want to shoulder my way through this world without being aware. No thank you!

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I don’t want to let hypersensitivialityism steal that fruit any more. Defining the enemy is the first step to conquering it, right? Right.

And there you have it. Lessons learned from listening to my blood flow at five in the morning. Who knew?