Lately I’ve become one of those people who routinely is up at 4:30am laying in bed attempting to use a soothing voice to tell myself to go the fuck to sleep. And when that doesn’t put me into a deep slumber, I make lists in my head- things I should do, things I want to do, things I wish I would have done, supplies I need to buy at Wal-mart for the projects I started thinking about at 2am.
(Sidenote: I’ve never been a regular Wal-Mart shopper, but it opens earlier than anywhere else (8 am) so I have found myself on more than one occasion in the last few weeks, standing outside Wal-Mart at 7:58am avoiding eye contact with everyone else who is standing there too because eye contact means we are recognizing that WE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO WAIT AT THE DOOR TO GET INTO WAL-MART.)
A recent 4 am project was all about re-organizing the pantry. I didn’t take a before picture (I had not realized at the time my life was going to take a turn into crazyville where my biggest accomplishments would be occurring in the middle of the night) but here is the after:
Now you might be looking at that thinking ‘wow! She got organized, well done’, but please don’t. Let’s take a closer look at what happens when you are organizing at 4 am…
Oh look! I’ve bought a fancy container with a button push top to hold crackers. That looks reasonable and an excellent way to keep crackers fresh. But wait… this isn’t regular organizing, this is 4 AM ORGANIZING… so reasonable organizing turns into….
Because CLEARLY I wasn’t going to be able to figure out what those things in the clear container were without a label. A label that had to be typed. And then put on scrapbooking paper. And then was laminated. (Which required a joyride to the school at 5 am).
Do I even need to explain how useless a list that says “various spices” multiple times is? It’s like naming some of the files in your filing cabinet “FILES”. Relatedly, WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY SPICES?
My neighbour has a new puppy and has been taking it out to pee at all hours of the night. A few times I’ve scared her as I’ve been carrying garbage outside at 5 am after a sweaty night of organizing. I was paranoid she thought my home was a meth lab, or at the very least I was carrying human limbs out in garbage bags in the middle of the night. So a few evenings later when she commented about my strange hours, I told her I was struggling with sleep.
She dropped the dog leash and walked over to me and asked, “Can I pray for you?”.
I don’t find myself praying often, and the only time I find myself in a church is for a wedding, funeral or when I’m backpacking Europe. But she said it so… intently and with such grace, I of course told her she could. I assumed that she was going to go inside since we were standing on the lawn, her in a bathrobe that was playing a dangerous game of show and tell with the wind and I was holding a bag full garbage. But she grabbed my hands, closed her eyes and spoke.
I honestly can’t even recall what she said. At first I felt really uncomfortable, the garbage bag had landed on my foot and mosquitoes were dancing on my bare legs. But something told me it would be wrong to let go of her hands to swat away bugs or kick off the garbage. After I let myself accept that my legs were going to be a buffet for the mosquitoes and that she was just going to have to ignore my sweat hands, I let myself stand there on the front lawn in the dark, holding hands with the neighbour in the bathrobe.
She finished her prayer, hugged me, scooped up her dog and went inside. I’m not a religious person and I’m not sure if I ever will be. But the last few days I’ve been thinking about those moments on the lawn and how much they have meant to me. I think its the whole idea of how brave she was to openly share her faith that has moved me and the fact that she was so sincere in dedicating those moments to me- someone she hardly knows.
She asked me yesterday if I was up organizing all night again. I told her the truth- that I hadn’t organized a single thing since our time on the lawn. She smiled and went inside.
I didn’t tell her that I was up until 4 am thinking of how nice it felt to have someone pray for me.