Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday's Reflection: The Sabbath of Naps

I have never been much of a napper. Now I know that sounds like someone who insists they don't watch much television or they rarely go to Wal-Mart. Actually, I do watch quite a bit of television, but Wal-Mart is not part of my loop of life, and, much to my amazement, I am becoming a napper. 

My husband, on the other hand, has always been a good napper, and at times it has frustrated me, for there he would be on the couch in the middle of a Saturday afternoon napping, and I felt restricted. I thought I needed to creep around and not make any noise. His napping interfered with whatever I had on my agenda. In the evening while watching tv, he falls asleep. Now granted he is a very early riser and puts in long days and deserves to rest, but I could never figure out why he didn't just go to bed. Instead of napping in an uncomfortable position, why not get into his pajamas and stretch out under sheets and blanket in our bed and sleep, really sleep. 

Learning to Nap
I guess I am a slow learner when it comes to napping, for these past months, since breaking my ankle, I have become a napper. At first taking an afternoon nap felt like a prescription along with the pain medication I was taking. I would plan when I would take my nap and hobble into the bedroom, arrange pillows under my left leg and cover myself with a throw. I would begin by reading, but before I knew it I was asleep. Really asleep and sometimes would sleep for more than an hour. When someone would stop by to visit me in my confinement, I would actually think to myself I hope they don't come during my nap time. Imagine! 

I have a wretched cold, heady, achey, crummy cold, and yesterday all I could think about was taking a nap. Unfortunately, I needed to take my Dad to a doctor's appointment. I have not been able to help him in anyway since breaking my ankle and now that I am once again able to drive and be out and about, I am more than willing to do my part in his care, and besides, I have missed being with him. But yesterday was not one of those days. To begin with it was cold and rainy, as in torrents of rain, and maneuvering with the cumbersome boot on my left foot, my cane and umbrella and his cane and umbrella was not easy. The doctor was running late, of course, and the appointment stretched on and on. Dad made conversation, and I was just not able to engage. All I could think about was getting home and taking a nap.

As I drove home I thought about where I would nap. Would it be in the sunporch on the leather chair or should I stretch out on our bed? No, I would nap on the chaise in our lower level. That has been my relaxation location of choice ever since we bought that sectional for the area we called the "nest" at our home, Sweetwater Farm, in Ohio and then again when it filled our den in our Madison home. Until recently, I could not manage the stairs down to the lower level where the nest furniture is now located. That's where I would nap.

When I got home, I thought about the minimum tasks between me and that nap. More medication. Bring in the mail, but don't bother sorting and opening. Grab my book, knowing, of course, I wouldn't be reading it. Water, kleenex. That was it.

Oh how glorious it was to let go into the comfort and ease. To respond to my body, which was crying for a time-out. I slept deeply, contentedly, and gratefully. I wish I could say I felt restored following my nap. I know that's what a nap does for people who routinely include a nap into their plan for the day, but in my case the nap did give me enough energy at least to fix a little supper, pull down the shades,  and get myself into my jams and soon crawl into bed to sleep through the night. I couldn't have done even that without that late afternoon nap.

Finding Sabbath Time
When I am back to what I think of as my full speed, my normal energy level, will I be a napper? I think it is more likely, for I know I don't have the same stamina as I did when younger, and I think I am more able to listen for and respond to the signals my body gives me. In the past I have thought of a nap or in my case a time to pick up my current book and read as a reward for moving steadily through the day's list. Now I am more apt to think of it as part of the movement of the day, the rhythm of the day. Sustenance for the day.

Even, a Sabbath. 

         Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop.
         We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop
         when we complete our phone calls, finish our project,
         get through this stack of messages, or get out this 
         report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is 
         time to stop. 
            Sabbath requires surrender.
                                         Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal,
                                         and delight in our Busy Lives, p. 82
                                         Wayne Muller 

My broken ankle has demanded healing rest and now this cold requires it as well. Everywhere I look I see things I want and need to attend to, but apparently, it is not quite time yet. Instead, I am being asked to surrender, to make way for Sabbath time. 

        The Sabbath rocks us and holds us until we can
        remember who we are.
                                        Wayne Muller

I am becoming aware that each time I observe a Sabbath in my life, I help to heal my body and soul.  

I feel a nap coming on.

An Invitation
How do you make room in your life for Sabbath time? I would love to know.

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