When little chocolate donuts are soul food

It's the weekend, we made it! A morning of wearing pajamas too long, bed-head, coffee and more coffee, and a morning with no agenda except to just be.

At some point today there will be dressing, taking Miss Lily for a walkabout, we'll need to eat something. Surely there will be an oozing into the day of the stuff of life, but for right now, just one morning, there is the glorious situation of nothing pressing.

The only item on my to-do list right now is pouring another cup of hot coffee, and eating more of those little chocolate donuts everyone loves, even though they're supposedly awful for us. I'm still not convinced. Sometimes life is about more than the calories or nutritional content. Sometimes it's about soul food.

This morning those little chocolate donuts are food for my soul. As is the quiet where the only sound in our home is the hum of the refrigerator motor, I can see sunshine coming through the back windows, and rascal squirrels running across the top boards of our fence.

I can feel my chest expanding, and not in the way teenage girls hope for. Being gentle with myself oozes into me, making space for room to breathe.

Probably because I bought myself one of those gadgets you wear on your wrist, and it tracks quality and length of sleep, lately I've found myself thinking on this 24 hours in a day concept. I'm realizing I don't have 24 hours. Nobody does.

Sometimes I wonder that God could have made us stay awake all the time, but He didn't. When sleep comes I often become so unconscious that people can come in and out of the room, enter and leave the bed, adjust the covers, lights on, etc. and I never stir. But I'm just sleeping. I'm not in a coma, I'm alive, but in a entirely different state.

Why did God design us to sleep away a solid third of our lives? Taking a quick look at it, it doesn't seem terribly efficient of Him.

My no-seminary-degree version is that we are so much more than human machines. We need vitamins and minerals and fiber and exercise and such. We also need a chocolate donut now and then, especially after a long, hard night of sleep that restores.

The very first sleep referred to was when he took a rib from Adam, to create Eve. Don't you know Adam woke up, wondering why his side felt sore?

I'm not the scientific type, with the grades to prove it, but I do know a lot of stuff happens when we sleep. Cell regeneration, etc. and of course babies and kids need more since they're growing at a crazy rate. But we continue to need a good amount of sleep throughout our entire lives, long after we stop growing, and I wonder if it's mostly because God knew we were made of fragile stuff. He didn't design us to be efficient, but rather to be. Just be. Beings rather than doings.

We need a chunk of the day to put it all down. To let our minds rest. Our souls rest.

So I don't have 24 hours in a day. If I'm taking care of myself, getting the sleep I should, then I have 16, or less, and many of those have names on them like grocery shop, laundry, pay bills, exercise, cook, come up with solutions to problems, clean house, drive here and there, etc. The number of hours is easily whittled away.

We were sitting in traffic a week or so ago, at 6:30 pm. It was dark, and I was struck that many of the people in the cars all around us would be back on the road in about 12 hours, before it was daylight, and they weren't even home yet. They still had to finish their commute, figure out food and eat, clean up, clean themselves up, deal with kids and homework, etc. then go to bed so they could get back up and do it all over again. At best they had a few hours of time that didn't have a label, and I remember being in that stage, where I shortchanged sleep so I could have an extra hour or two of free time.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all got the sleep we need? If we slowed down to a sane pace of life, spent some time every morning on the sofa with another cup of coffee and a chocolate donut, if we didn't live at such a frantic pace? Would there be less crime? Less divorce? Less suicide? Less illness? Less road rage? Less of everything that is wrong with this world of ours, and more of what is right? What if Putin slept more and ate a chocolate donut now and then?

For this weekend I'm going to live purposefully at the pace of a slug. Try to emulate life from a different era, when we weren't driven by phones and emails and too many stores and too much of just about everything else.

Instead of rushing out to buy flowers and chocolate, standing in line at a restaurant, the grandkids will help me plant pansies, then we're going to feed the ducks at the park, and watch Frozen while we eat still-to-be-determined supper on paper plates. No makeup, no fuss, no furious. Then tucking ourselves in early enough, and long enough, that we wake up refreshed.

We had a house full of people this past week, eight adults and a curly-headed toddler who slept quite well tucked away in a closet. We tried to anticipate their every need, fresh sheets, plumped pillows, flowers in vases, fluffy towels, coffee and breakfast bars, chips and guacamole when they came in at the end of a long day. Everything was geared to making them feel special, and refreshed.

But we forget to do it to ourselves. Or those closest to us who will put up with crumbs. Fast food and the cookies that didn't turn out, and clutter and frantic paces, and snippy words.

I remember I can't pour out what's not inside. When I'm empty, frazzled, worn to a thin edge, of course it will be painfully obvious to others.

Perhaps you'll join me, even for a day? A Valentines day where we treat ourselves and others with gentleness. A day with room for our chests to expand and take a breath.


PS I did send my mother flowers to be delivered today. I can already see the look on her face, when she opens her door, and realizes they are for her. Sooooo much better than getting them myself.


Gretchen said…
Bev, this is just what I needed to read, today. I suspect you needed to write it. Hasn't been long at all since your brother passed, friend. Thinking of you, sending love, and so grateful that you are taking time to do your self care. Because you GET IT that we can only pour out what has been poured in, and we are fragile clay pots. Hugs,friend. Rest well.
Bev I just love your write ups. Thank you sweet lady! Hugs!
Happy Valentine's day!
Anonymous said…
Just what I needed to read. I had a busy week of family, full-time job, church (teach Sunday school for 4-5 year olds), and school (working on a degree). I have often been frustrated by my need for sleep. Yesterday and today, I succumbed to naps and an early bedtime. Felt wonderful, although I was feeling a little guilty knowing the work that didn't get done. You just helped me feel better. God designed us to rest. He will help me get done what needs to get done--all surrendered to Him! Thank you. -Denise

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