When I was a wee lad, my father would go off on trips. My mother would then allow all of her little minions to come and sleep in her bed. There’d usually be 3-4 of us kids in the bed with her. Sometimes at the head, sometimes at the foot, sometimes hanging from one of the pillars that rose from the four corners. Now, when my father came home? Yeah, there was none of that.
Now, I always loved and respected my father. But this was one of those injustices that I, as a mature and ancient 5 or 6 year old, could never accept. It just seemed so mean spirited and tyrannical. And like good young men of fiery temperament we protested heartily, and crusaded to get our spot back in that bed. But much like all children’s crusades, we failed miserably.
Now a father of two, I begin to understand my dad’s rationale. It isn’t the reason you’re all thinking of either. No, the reason no kids in bed is simply because kids, particularly 2 year olds, are like 30+ lbs polysters onesies right after they’ve been taken out of the dryer. Meaning they cling, but unlike the onesie out of the dryer, they don’t.stop.clinging. Did I mention they weigh 30+lbs? They’ve got feet, hands, a head and a rear end, and every single one of these is ordered to A) pushing you to the very edge of the bed, and then 2nd) getting wedged in every uncomfortable nook and cranny they can find between your profile and the mattress.
So anyway, why do I bring this up? Well, it made me think of God. It made me think of how He asks us not to do these fun things that at the time seem like such a great idea, but in the end really aren’t. You know, He asks us not to sin? Why do kids sleeping in mom and dad’s bed make me think of God’s simple request (asked out of love but backed up with Hell fire and brimstone)? Well, the reason should be obvious. He asks us not to be gluttonous, or lustful, or avaricious (whatever that means), etc. because it ultimately pains him, and it hurts us as well. My son’s sleeping in our bed hurts me, and when he grows up, if this sleeping in mom and dad’s bed becomes a habit, it’ll hurt him too.
Think about it, if my sons’ sleeping in my bed got to be a habit, what would people think when he’s 26 and still sleeping in the same bed as mom and dad? Against nature I tell you, they’d say it was against nature! This is a great analogy for habitual sin, it teases out how ridiculously dependent we are on whatever simple pleasure we refuse to just let go. Money, sex, food, Marc Barnes, anger or whatever! You let it turn into a habit, and you’re no less ridiculous than a 26 year old sleeping with mom and dad.
So as my son wakes in the middle of the night, climbs into my bed, and drives his knee into my thoracic curve, he also drives home the reality that all fatherhood is rooted in God the Father, and his “Fatherhood” over us. To put it another way, nothing good about fatherhood (like the good of ensuring a full night’s rest) escapes from imitating the Fatherhood of God Himself. Kind of cool when you think of it, even if when you think of it is at 2AM as you wake up to your son’s rear end smothering the life out of you.
(There he is below. I think this was taken at 2:05 AM . . .)
PS The picture at the beginning of the post is of the statue of St. Bartholomew in St. John’s Lateran and has absolutely nothing to do with this post.
Category: Married Life