So I’ve been napping at naptime. I’m not pregnant. I’m not (always) sick. I don’t have a newborn.
At first I felt kind of guilty about this. I could prep dinner! I could write! I could finish one of the zillion books I’m currently alternating.
But the house grows quiet and I know, now that Pippin is finally taking quiet time instead of naptime (RIP NAP), that I’ve got exactly one hour free.
I ask myself, as I have ever since mastering the simultaneous nap, what would be most sustaining for myself, and often, I lie down. Sometimes I read or write a bit from the horizontal. Usually I transfer a load of laundry or turn on the slow cooker before I lie down. But I generally end up in the same place.
I felt embarrassed, until I confessed my new habit to my husband. He pointed out that stillness often leads to breakthroughs and refreshment. He reminded me that he generally doesn’t listen to anything on his walk to work, and I recalled how he’d often solve difficult problems in his thesis by taking a break and doing something entirely different.
This season has been my season of monastic reading, mostly unintentional. First there was A Canticle for Leibowitz, then In This House of Brede. In the latter, particularly, there’s a tension between the old order nuns and the new, young nuns, who, even in their cloistered order, long for productivity, efficiency.
For several years, I’ve mostly used the St. Benedict Prayer Book. The night prayer includes the psalm: “Ponder on your bed and be still.”
I’m not a good ponderer. Or, I mean, I suppose I’m a person who likes to think (hence this here blog), but I also have a deep commitment to proving my right to take up space through efficiency, output, motion. And the next line, lest we forget, is “Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.” It is not enough to spend my days lazing, neglecting house and home and justice all in one, but it is valuable, perhaps, for just a beat, to ponder on my bed and be still.