"A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…" - Ecclesiastes 3:5
The other night, our daughter crawled into bed with us at 4 a.m., her icy hands and feet snaking over us in the most alarming way.
She knows we love her but she also knows we love uninterrupted sleep, and so she began to make her case:
"I was awake from 11 until 2 and then I fell asleep for a few minutes and—"
"And then I woke up and I had had a bad dream and it was all about a guy in a mask chasing me and—"
"And then I was scared but I didn't want to wake you up so I used my stress ball and then I said prayers with my prayer beads and then I still couldn't sleep and so I came up here and lay down on the cold floor with a little blanket, and I REALLY didn't want to disturb you but then I was shivering and . . ."
"CARMEN. Snuggle me and go to sleep."
And I wrapped my big warm limbs around her small cold ones, and we fell asleep.
This is how we are before God sometimes. Struggling and trying to do it on our own and failing miserably, and making ourselves miserable, and finally coming before God with all kinds of rationalizations and proofs and evidence of our exertions, and God just says, "HUSH! Rest." And wraps us up in Her great warm limbs, the big spoon to our little spoon.
God, next time, can You help me skip the self-inflicted independent-minded misery, and get straight to the embrace? Amen.
Molly Baskette is senior minister of First Church Somerville UCC in Somerville, MA, and the author of the book Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead and Yours Can Too.