Things feel disjointed, that’s all.
I walk the dogs. I order coffee black. I grocery shop. I answer texts. I chop carrots, find the missing shoe. I order finger paints.
I fall asleep.
Bee likes to sleep on the floor. On the (rare) days in which she naps, I’ll have laid her in her bed, pulled star-patterned sheets to her chin, kissed her on the forehead, said our prayers, handed her a penguin to snuggle, flicked the light, shut the door, tiptoed off to my own bedroom for some reading, or a nap.
Mom! she will say in an hour, and I’ll rub my eyes, shush the dogs, walk down the hallway, open her door.
What took you so long, Mom? I’ll peek in to find an empty bed and a pile of blankets, tendrils, sweat to my left. I slept on the floor again, Mom.
I see, I say.
I read once that your sleep positions speak volumes of your personality. That those who sleep on their stomachs with one leg diagonally sprawled (all three of us sleep in this precise position, with only toes left to touch) signal deep loyalty, caring, overthinking, structured, kind.
Rejectors of change.
Bee: Do you remember when I slept on the blue mattress, like, with the fish?
Me: Your pack-and-play?
I’d forgotten. Do you remember that?
Sure I do!
And we sleep, and we think, and we dream, and we remember all the things we didn’t do, couldn’t have done, should never have done.
My friend told me once she felt like she was sleepwalking through life. Like, she was half a person, floating, waiting for something to happen, unsure what it all meant.
It reminded me of a story I read a few years ago, about a teenage girl in a dark season of anger, of acting out, of rebellion. Her father didn’t know what to do, and he sought counsel from a wise and loving friend who said this:
Offer her a bigger story than the one she’s writing herself.
He did. They made a change, just the two of them. They packed duffels, bought travel toothbrushes, spent a summer volunteering overseas. They raised the blinds, pulled back the covers, awoke to a wider world than their safe bed.
The anger lifted, dissolved.
Why do you like sleeping on the floor? I ask Bee as we collect her blankets and place them back on the bed. I’m curious.
I like the hard, she says.
It’s just that, isn’t it? We’re wired to like the hard, we’re wired for change, for adventure, for connection with something beyond comfort and safety.
I think we’re wired for great, but on most days, it’s hard to get out of bed.
Rejectors of change, and all that.
I went running yesterday. Just a few blocks (I’m not a runner), but I’d been feeling edgy, like my adrenaline wasn’t being used on anything purposeful, like energy was coursing through my veins, and well, it was either running or yelling at a toddler.
So I laced my sneakers.
I have read that faith without works is dead. That belief and action are woven together, like a tapestry, like sheets.
I used to think this idea bordered on legalism, that the interpretation saved little room for grace, that it made religion into a game of effort and good deeds. How many random acts of kindness can you complete in a day? A month? A lifetime?
Will St. Peter be proud at the pearling gates? Or not?
But I no longer think this is a maxim for heaven, for later.
I think it’s a maxim for earth.
I think it’s simply that faith without works will drive one crazy with bottled up energy, anxiety-ridden, jittery. It’s hard to believe in something so big and not let it consume your day. Belief is energy, like the sun, like a sugar rush. It courses through your veins, after all.
It’s not like it can be contained.
But oh, how we try.
We diffuse lavender. We take a vacation. We throw a dinner party. Drink more water. We read that book, watch that Ted talk, change that habit, lose eight pounds, nine pounds, ten.
We lace our sneakers.
I don’t know what my bigger story is.
Some days, I believe it’s little more than 800 tiny actions that, when woven together, create one square inch of faith.
Some days, it’s the other way around.
But what I do know is this: the cold, hard floor beckons us all at one time or another. We will be cozy, snug, sleeping or sleepwalking, dreaming on sheets, warm. Comfortable.
Rejectors of change.
But there will be belief coursing through our veins, and it will wake us, and there will be one way to release the energy, to free the sun, to tame the wild.
We’ll rub our eyes.
We’ll shush the dogs.
We’ll walk down the hallway.
We’ll open the door.
We’ll wonder what took us so long.