Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. Maybe I had too much caffeine during the day – quite likely since I’m having to stay awake while grading AP essays all day in Louisville right now…about Middlemarch. Maybe I stayed up too late with my good friend Matt Logsdon, talking about culture wars, Brother Lawrence and the new X-Men we had just seen – not exactly a soporific. Maybe I was overtired. (Don’t you love that phrase?) In any case, my mind was racing and I couldn’t turn it off. I’m sure you’ve been there.
Another good friend, Barrett Coffman, once suggested to me that sleeplessness is sent to us by God. It provides us with time to listen attentively to His voice: to the still small voice that whispers inside us, and that we drown out in our daily busy-ness. As we lie in bed waiting for the blessing of sleep to drift over us, we are a captive audience. Sleep is a gift, and if God chooses not to grant it, He may just have a reason. Perhaps it behooves us to think about what that reason might be.
Nathan Dahlstrom, founder of Whetstone Boys Ranch, once spoke to me about making time for boredom with the boys we will serve. I like that. Not just because it flies in the face our Highspeed-DSL-4G network society, but because it feels right. No person or institution made by people has all the answers. Only God has ALL the answers, and more to the point, only God has the answers that we need, when we need them. It is only when we submit ourselves humbly to Him, that we find true and lasting peace.
I am excited about incorporating large doses of boredom into the Whetstone curriculum. It won’t be as easy as it sounds. We’ll have to dig post holes, feed cows, till the soil, and diagram a few sentences, but we’ll also make time sit on a rock, or a log, or a horse, and do nothing.
We’ll just do nothing.