Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rousing the Drowsy Self

Author's note: Tis the season when my writing class at my church ponders the readings of Advent. We spend most of the fall reading and studying the lectionary, asking ourselves where we fit in the narrative. Our parishioners are now reading "The Pondering Heart" collection as an Advent discipline, and since this project is what got me writing again, i thought i'd include a sample on the blog. The full book is available for download at

My father knew the power of a daily nap. At times when he was the only doctor in my small home town, the needs of others drew him out of bed into the dark night. Off to work before 8 each morning, come noontime he was home for a bowl of soup, some saltines and a half-hour stretch on his bed. In seconds, his snores pounded the house.
Then he was off again and ready to heal, fueled by his nap.

I began naps in earnest when I was expecting my first child. The dog and I would climb on the bed with a book, and soon we’d drift into a pleasant daily dreamland, our short respite giving us the fuel we needed to prepare for what soon would be months of sleepy existence.

These days, my favorite part of a Sunday afternoon is my nap. I take the phone off the hook, stretching out on my grandmother’s sofa with yet another good book and soon I’m out, sometimes dreaming so deeply that I dream I wake up, but in fact, keep sleeping
Maybe I’m too comfortable, my legs tucked into the soft throw, my mind drifting from the pages of my Outlander novel and into slumber.

Now that I’m of the age when I’m no longer pulled out of bed in the night to soothe a fretful child, I don’t require the restorative rest my father did all those years ago.
My naps pull me away from chores I’d rather not do, from those midnight worries that too easily also dampen my daytime thoughts, from truths about myself I’d rather not face.
But what have I missed in my reclining hours? A chance to do all such good works as God has prepared for me? To spend an hour using my gifts for spiritual good rather than my own therapy?

Honestly, I don’t really want to see a time when the sun darkens, the moon won’t give light and the stars start falling from the sky. And if the Son of Man shows up at my house on a Sunday afternoon, I likely will miss the whole thing, because I am down for the count.

Keep awake, Jesus implores us during Advent. Beware, keep alert. Perhaps I should reconsider his advice.

May this Advent be a time for me to rouse my drowsy self, and get to work.

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