Back in high school, I lived in a dormitory. Most people our age went to public school and thought that our strange situation was because our parents were either rich or we were rebellious and troubled teens. We were neither, really. My best friend and I just decided we wanted to go to this boarding school 8 hours away from home (the idea of living with our peers and far from ‘the rents’ seemed really cool and grown up). And our parents went along with our devious little plan.
Because we went to boarding school, we didn’t “date” guys in the same way most girls dated guys. The girls had a dorm and the boys had a dorm, and we would see our crushes not only in classes, but in chapel, for all our meals, and for recreation/sports in the evening. Because of this whole weird situation, when you “dated” a guy, you could practically be with him 24/7.
One year, something also happened in our dorms… Somehow, boys found a way to sneak into the girl’s dorm. I guess there’s no stopping those teenage hormones! This was back in the ’90s before the school had a formal alarm system. Crazy huh?! I don’t even know if they have one now to be honest.
I knew this midnight gallivanting was going on, but I was always asleep for it all. It was never a question for me that I wanted to wait until I was married to have sex, (how did my parents instill this in me without ever having the ‘talk?’ I have no idea. Genius parenting, I guess.) and sleep has always been an obsession for me, so needless to say, I really had no reason to stay up. One morning, I woke up to one very pleasant surprise, and another very disturbing surprise.
The pleasant surprise? A guy had left me flowers on my dresser with a sweet note. I had no idea he had a crush on me until then!
The very disturbing surprise? My roommate told me he came in the room and watched me sleep.
This was disturbing for two reasons. For one, back then I only slept in underwear and a T-shirt. For two, the idea of a guy watching me sleep at night gave me the creeps!
I have a terrible memory, but for some reason, I never forgot about this story. Partly because all my life, (that guy and I never dated btw) I was perplexed as to why anyone would watch somebody sleep.
And partly because the answer to that question finally came to me after I got married. The tables have turned, and now I’m the one who is doing the creepy sleep watching. It has almost become a ritual to watch my husband sleep. Sometimes I watch him sleep in bed and run my fingers in his hair or gently caress his face. Sometimes I just watch him sleep peacefully, thanking God he is mine and praying that I can be a good wife to him. One time, (the hormones were going bonkers) I even caught myself crying; I was so happy just to be alive and with someone who loved me unconditionally.
Now, 16 years later, I get it. I get why people watch other people sleep. Because you feel an affection towards them, and in that moment, they look so peaceful, and you’re just happy they exist. You are just happy they are alive to make you feel this way.
And what is my point in writing this?
For the single guys,(as unlikely as this is) if she isn’t yours yet, I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you could be caught watching your crush sleep. That’s creepy!
For the single girls, I know this post isn’t very relevant to your season, but just know that your hope and your belief that God can satisfy your desire for companionship will not be met with disappointment. He is faithful.
And for the coupled men and women, it’s so easy to take for granted that this person you see every. single. day. could one day be gone, and you could be spending one last day watching them sleeping the sleep of death. (How morbid is that?!)
And it’s my prayer, my hope, that you take advantage of watching them sleep when you can still see their chest rise and breath fill their nostrils. Why do I suggest you take up this new pastime?
Because it’s in that moment, in the midst of the chaos that is life, where you will find a stillness and a silence that allows you to just stop and learn to appreciate them. You can stare at them for as long as you want. In that moment you can thank God they are yours, they are alive, and that He’s given you such a gift of this other life that is so intricately woven into yours.
It may seem morbid to think about our life in terms of how very fragile and fleeting it is, to think that this person who is a part of you and you of them could be gone tomorrow. But David, a man after God’s own heart once said,
“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.”
It’s pretty sobering to think that the bible compares a person’s life to that of grass. One day it’s here. The next it’s gone. I’m going to start thinking about this every time I mow the lawn:) Realizing this helps us appreciate those around us and also helps us take advantage of the time we have. There is wisdom in grasping the reality that our lives are short.
Just something to think about this week.