Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vacation or Hibernation

Having long chunks of time with few distractions, allows me to listen to myself. And when I do so for any prolonged period, I fall asleep. It could be that I am discovering that I bore myself to sleep. It could be that when all the incessant activity is removed, there is nothing there. Or, as I think more likely, my body is demanding equal time to catch up.

When I say sleep, I really mean sleep. I have not kept my eyes open beyond 10:00 pm since we left the USA. We have good dinners, and after dinner walk (promenade) and then settle in to read. It’s usually 8:30 or 9:00 pm and I last for maybe an hour when my eyes wander off the page like a drunk driver and I keep returning to the same sentence. I apologize to Martha for being so sleepy, take off my glasses, roll onto my side and I’m out like a light switch.

I awake at 5:45 am with no alarm clock. I have tried to sleep beyond 6:00 am, but to no avail. If I stay in the bed with my eyes closed, I hear area morning sounds, feel my stomach gurgling, and think about how nice a fresh cup of coffee would taste. I dress in the dark, close the bedroom door and make a personal pot of coffee.

In these early hours I am hyper awake and alert. Reading through the Gospel of Luke is pure joy. I read slowly, marking well-worn passages with fresh observations. It makes me eager to begin preaching through Luke on the words of Jesus when I return. After some time of prayer, I pick up history (just finished a book on the French Wars of Religion:1562-1629). If Martha is not awake yet, I pour my 3rd cup of coffee and open the lap-top and writing commentary on the questions of God.

When Martha gets up, I stop reading and we have breakfast together. After a quick shower, I read more while she gets ready (it’s a more deliberate process for her). That gives me another 45 minutes to an hour and we are ready for our day together. We have some errands to run before lunch, but try to return for a quiet lunch together.

That’s when it happens again! I pick up a news magazine or International Herald Tribune with a cup of coffee and begin reading. My eyes get heavy and itchy, so I put down the paper, turn off the light and stretch out on the couch. 2 hours later I wake up like I’m coming out of anesthesia; groggy, disoriented, woozy and deeply refreshed after I rediscover my name and who the strange woman is who ask me if I’m ok (it’s Martha!)

I don’t normally take naps except on heavy Sundays in the afternoon. On this vacation I have not missed a nap on any single day except when we’ve been driving (it’s not good to nap when you’re driving Martha tells me). I’m not one to feel sorry for myself (anyway it’s a hard thing to do from rural France!) or list the litany of my stresses, but I can’t help but think that this past season of life with the loss of parents, evacuating fires, the wedding of our three children and the economic strains of the local church were more exhausting on me than I realized. So I guess I will enjoy this vacation/hibernation for the time I have. I think I’m getting sleepy aga…………….


At 2:07 PM , Anonymous Andy Larsen said...

Love your insight, your transparency, your writing.


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