Number 1: Sleep
I'm lacking it sorely right now. Too little last night, there'll be too little tonight. And the fact is I've struggled with my sleep for some time. But for whatever reason, the verse from Psalm 127 popped into my head this afternoon: "He gives sleep even unto his beloved." And it hit me in a new way. God wants to take care of me while I sleep.
While I'm un-conscious, inert and vulnerable, God wants to care for me. I can't do anything. I'm asleep after all. And there God is, working away, gently ministering little wonders into secret places in my soul that only He knows about. I like that. I need God to work little wonders into me, especially when I'm not in control and not trying to figure out the most efficient way to achieve the greatest, productive good for the Kingdom of God with all the resources and energies and strategies I have at my disposal.
If he takes care of his beloved in his sleep, when they're least able to co-operate--"Can I not help? Can't I at least do something?"--surely he's able to take care of us in our waking life.
I'm getting married tomorrow, walking permanently away from my singlehood, and now more than ever I feel my need for his care. So I will ask for his care.
I will ask for his care tonight, tonight when I'm bleary-brained, and tomorrow when I rise, and the next day when I rise a new man, the same but new, and find myself, as my dear friend Mike Akel puts it, "with new issues," and then rise into the next and the next after that and after that and on and on till I pass into my 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s and glide, like Dick Van Dyke, into my 80s, and if God gives me breath into my 90s, and if I keep eating my vegetables, into my centennials, and then wear out with life but trusting that whether I accomplish a great or little thing, whether I make a wonder out of my marriage and family or botch it repeatedly or somewhere in between that he will still give sleep to his beloved. For I am his beloved. My wife is his beloved. My children are his beloved. M friends are his beloved. My extended family are his beloved.
And so, again, it is good.
Finally, then, on the eve of my marriage, two and a half years after our first date, this is my last official thought. In marrying Phaedra I have come to conclude that I am getting something better than I could ask for or imagine. That's true too for the friends and family that will surround us tomorrow. I am getting something better than I could have thought up on my own. So thanks be to God for such a mercy. I am marrying a beautiful woman, better than I could have imagined.
When next I write--hm, say three weeks from now?--I will put to electronic paper the 77 reasons why I love Phaedra. Because I do. And much, much more.
Thank you for reading along. I feel sheepish and melancholy about it all, but deeply, deeply happy.
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.
I don't like the man who doesn't sleep, says God.
I am talking about those who work and don’t sleep.
I pity them. I have it against the. A little.
They won’t trust me.
They have the courage to work.
They lack the courage to be idle.
To stretch out. To rest. To sleep.
Poor people, they don’t know what’s good.
Those who don’t sleep are unfaithful to hope.
They look after their business very well during the day.
But they haven’t enough confidence in me
To let me look after it during the night
As if I wasn’t capable of looking after it
During one night
Human wisdom says,
Don’t put off until tomorrow
What can be done the very same day.
And I tell you:
Put off until tomorrow
Those worried and those trouble gnawing at you today ...
Put off until tomorrow
Those tears which fill your eyes and your head,
Flooding you, rolling down your cheeks,
Those tears which stream down your cheeks
Because between now and tomorrow, Maybe I, God,
Will have passed your way.
Blessed is the one who puts of until tomorrow
That is to say, blessed is the one who hopes
And who sleeps.