A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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SOMETIMES WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT: ON GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

The best sleep I ever had was in a 4X4 outhouse in Oakville, Ontario. I hadn’t planned on sleeping there, but I got caught in a fall thunderstorm at my storage unit, and by the time the rain had stopped and I’d ventured outdoors, the gates of the facility were shut and locked and there was no way out. I could have spent the night in my storage unit, but it was too cold there, so I went to the outdoor heated bathroom, spread a giant garbage bag over the floor, laid down with my legs propped up on the wall (the floor wasn’t large enough for me to stretch my legs out), and promptly fell asleep. Because the outhouse was only dimly lit, I didn’t realize until the next morning, when I woke up magnificently refreshed and opened the door, letting the daylight stream into the tiny room, that the place was full of spiders. Big ones. Big black ones. There must have been at least a hundred of those big black spiders all over the walls and ceiling, but not one of them bothered me or bit during the night.

I still think of that sleep when I toss and turn in my expensive hotel beds or short-term condo rentals. I don’t think the quality of the bed or the pillow or the bedding or even the sleeping environment is important. I don’t think location is important. I don’t think what you eat or drink or otherwise ingest before you go to bed is important, any more than your bedtime routine is. Based on my own experience over many years of sleeping in thousands of locations, I think you sleep well when you’re good and tired, when you say your prayers, and when God grants you a good night’s sleep.

Some other good sleeps I’ve had were on rock-hard benches at airports, using my laptop as a pillow and surrounded by loudspeaker announcements (not to mention blindingly bright lights and screaming kids) or on sleeping cars in trains. The sleeping cars in trains I paid for and expected to have good sleeps in, but the airport bench sleeps were an unexpected surprise. I also have fantastic naps when I’m riding in one of the older models of subway cars in Toronto, when I have a long journey of at least 45 minutes to an hour. Regardless of how crowded the car is, as long as I can nab a seat, I just close my eyes and I’m out for the duration.

I mention this because Jesus didn’t have much by way of beds during most of his ministry years, and yet every day he put in a full day’s work and then some. So he must have been sufficiently refreshed by his sleeps, even if they were just on cold hard dirt or at the back of a heaving boat.

I also mention this because I’ll likely be starting a regime of camping soon as I relaunch my travels. Hotels and Airbnb’s are too expensive at the moment, so I’ve been exploring the camping option again.

I say “again”, because two years ago, I spent two nights camping and promptly threw my tent and tarp into a dumpster after the second night, as soon as it was light enough for me to find the dumpster. “Never again”, I swore to myself. But as born-again believers, we know not to swear anything (not to ourselves or to anyone), and common wisdom teaches us through humbling experience never to say “never again”. So I guess the “never again” timeframe I mentioned a few years ago is coming up in a few days, which I am with some trepidation preparing for.

Not wanting to relive my rookie camping mistakes, I’ve been watching “How To” camping videos on YouTube. I can see now why my previous camping efforts failed so dismally, but at the same time, I have to laugh at how much equipment you’re expected to buy and drag around with you if you want a good night’s sleep in a tent. I guess, like a sponsored runner on a coast-to-coast marathon with a supplies van trailing behind, I’ll have to hire someone to drag everything around for me, since I can’t drive and therefore don’t have a car.

Or I’ll just do what Jesus did, which I assume was to lay his robe on the ground, lay down on top of it, say his prayers, and fall asleep.

I’ll let you know how it goes. ;D