I don’t like the man who doesn’t sleep, says God.
Sleep is the friend of man.
Sleep is the friend of God.
Sleep is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have created,
and I myself rested on the seventh day.
He whose heart is pure, sleeps. And he who sleeps has a pure heart.
That is the great secret of being indefatigable as a child,
of having that strength that a child has.
Those new legs, those new souls,
And to begin afresh every morning, ever new,
Like young hope, new hope.
But they tell me that there are men
Who work well and sleep badly.
Who don’t sleep. What a lack of confidence in me.
I pity them. I have it against them. A little, they don’t trust me.
Like the child who innocently lies in his mother’s arms, thus they do not lie
Innocently in the arm of my Providence.
They have the courage to work. They haven’t enough virtue to be idle.
To stretch out. To rest. To sleep.
Poor people, they don’t know what is good.
They look after their business very well during the day.
But they haven’t enough confidence in me to let me look after it
during the night.
As if I wasn’t capable of looking after it during one night.
He who doesn’t sleep is unfaithful to Hope.
And it is the greatest infidelity.”
–Charles Peguy, Basic Verities,
quoted in Answering God by Eugene Peterson
I am tired. Weary. Worn out. Wrung out.
I was convicted by these words of Charles Peguy, words it was unlikely I would have read, buried as they are in the end notes of Peterson’s book. A book I haven’t even read. And I never skip to the end of a book. I consider that cheating.
But for some reason, I read the end notes first. And found this. And was convicted. I work so much. At any given moment, I’m either parenting or writing. Some moments I’m trying to do both at the same time. (Ask me how well that works.) I stay up late. I wake up early.
I know I need sleep. I know I get anxious when I don’t get enough sleep. But it’s been awhile since I felt anxious (thank Our Lord for little blue pills), so I have been pushing myself.
What a lack of trust. And what an act of idolatry. As if I am so important I don’t have time to sleep. As if I matter that much. Poor person, I don’t know what is good.
Sleep is good. Trust is good. Hope is good. Trust and hope are easier to choose when I’m rested. I know this from hard experience: all those months of sleep deprivation after the twins were born just about killed the thing with feathers that’s supposed to sing in my soul and never stop at all.
You’d think, having lived that, I’d be the biggest sleep addict on the planet. Instead, I’m trying to make up for lost time. But just for today, I’m going to let it go. I’m going to stop working.
I am going to sleep. Take a nap, I hope. Go to bed early, certainly.
Perhaps you, too, are tired. Perhaps you, too, will this day embrace God’s most beautiful gift.
photo of Jane and me by Susan Forshey
Florilegium comes from two Latin words, meaning flower (flor) and gather (legere). Legere is closely related to the Latin word for reading (lectio). So a florilegium is literally a gathering of the flowers of reading: a collation of the best words, the best books.
I hope you’ll come by every Friday to gaze on some beautiful heart-mind-and-soul flowers. (And stop in at Susan’s, too, for another bouquet).