One way I test my spiritual well-being is to notice how many people have crawled into bed with me at the end of the day. If it’s just my husband Andy I’m in pretty good shape. But if the phantasms of many others are clinging onto me and taking up precious psychic room under the covers, I’m in trouble.
Worries about his night shift as a cop in a bad part of the city allow my adult son to jump in the bed. The person who said something hurtful to me on Sunday morning at church hogs the blankets. The ubiquitous thought, “What would my family think,” opens the door for my parents and other relatives to vie for a place on the mattress. When my worries, resentments, and obsessions morph into human form and want to share the queen-sized bed, my sacred place of loving and rest becomes the scene of a massive pillow-fight.
My task is to try to leave everyone but my husband and God outside the bedroom door. Even if I say prayers in bed, I want them to be prayers of letting go and not clinging. Some nights I have to work hard to throw all of the scrabbling bedmates out of my head, out of my bed, out of the room, and into the hands of God.
There may be a new hallway nighttime ritual in the making here—an order to the interlopers: “Sit, Down, Stay,” a slam of the bedroom door, and a prayer committing the unwanted guests and my thoughts into God’s care. “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.” (An Order for Compline, Book of Common Prayer,The Church Hymnal Corporation, New York, 1979, p. 134)
Sybil MacBeth ©2010