Sleep, Who Needs It ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sleep, Who Needs It

In earth's economy, sleep is something we desperately fight for. Rest is a narrow strip of beach we fortify with sand castles against the ocean's fitful attack. Each time the tide goes out, angst and ennui litter the shore line. (Some people find this wreckage interesting and collect it to use in craft projects, several of which have been published as books and become famous.)

Or am I just saying this because we have two boys under two years old? Good question, but a strange thing has happened to me--I no longer have any special affection for sleep. "Sleeping until noon" has lost its old appeal. Maybe it's because my back is a seismograph, logging the slightest deviations from a precisely supine position. Maybe it's because I'd rather be reading. Maybe it's because my mind becomes fully awake at around 8 p.m. Maybe it's because I'm more enlightened than the rest of you snoring suckers--or maybe I'm trying to trick myself into not wanting what I can't have anyway (we all do it). Whatever.

Here's the redeeming note in what would otherwise be a kind of melancholy post: God doesn't need sleep. Doesn't find himself wishing the kids would stop screaming or the Holy Spirit would finally start pulling his weight so He could grab a power nap.

No, God is sleepless and happy. Maybe it's no coincidence. I think sleep is something God graciously shoved off on us after Adam and Eve's living nightmare, to temporarily delay our bodies' decay. That means sleep is medicinal. Sleep is a tranquilizer for death.

It was kind of God to do this, and explains why sleepless people go insane and then die--they're missing out on their daily meds.

What comforts me, though, is that sleep, unlike a jumpshot or espresso-pulling jones, is not something we need to practice, thinking it will be useful in eternity. As if. Some of you are shocked right now--WHAT? There will be no snoozing area in heaven, stocked with four-posters and arm chairs? NOOOO!--but I am unfazed, happy in fact. Those of you who are devoted sleepers, who could compete in the Olympics of Inactivity, will have to reinvent yourselves. Not me. In Heaven, wakeful will be normal, with or without coffee.

For now, sleep is nice, when you can get it, but God is sleepless and happy. On even my worst days, I have got half of that DOWN. So when I don't get much shuteye, I remind myself that eventually I won't need it anyway.

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gymbrall said...

Seriosuly, thanks for this.

Sleepless in Seattle, err, Durham,

John said...

Just out of curiosity: Why do you think there will be no sleep in heaven?

At the very least I'd say resting will be a big part (say, at least 1/7th) of what we'll be doing...wouldn't you?

Ariel said...

You're welcome, Charles.

John, here's my rationale. Why do we sleep on earth? Because we're tired. What makes sleep welcome, even pleasurable, down here? Exhaustion. (Unless you're the proverbial "sluggard," who sleeps out of pure laziness.)

What makes us exhausted? Our faulty bodies, which happen to be slowly dying...

You see where I'm headed. It's pure speculation, but I don't see why perfected, heavenly bodies would need rest, or why it would even be enjoyable without the "allure" of tiredness.

The General said...

While I agree that God doesn't sleep, he certainly rests (or at least He did once).

Ariel said...

While I agree that God doesn't sleep, he certainly rests (or at least He did once).

Agreed. But he didn't rest because he was tired. Rather, because he was satisfied and appreciative of his work. There's a world of difference between that kind of happy stillness and the dogged weariness that chases us now...

I think the former will be present in Heaven.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife