The Art of Lying in Bed

Every now and then I find people who delight in the physical act of waking up in the morning. They don’t associate waking up with bad breath, the screams of the alarm clock, or the imagined face of the boss drawing close. They do not fear the waking hour as the relentless rhythm of routine. They just amuse themselves with how, in the blink of an eye, consciousness takes charge of a previously dormant soul. I slept, now I’m awake, what a miracle. A white ceiling seems then plenty of fun for these dozy creatives.

“Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling,” G. K. Chesterton gathered the courage to pronounce. “I am sure that it was only because Michael Angelo was engaged in the ancient and honorable occupation of lying in bed that he ever realized how the roof of the Sistine Chapel might be made into an awful imitation of a divine drama that could only be acted in the heavens.”[1]

Lying in bed is an honorable occupation, let us make clear, as honorable as bubble baths and ant watching. I would bet that 7 out of 10 of the most delightful ideas that have ever graced humankind came to the dignified practitioners of this sport. More than that, it is a refined art, not behind the delicacies of holding a cup of tea with true finesse. Lying in bed is coming to disuse, I grant that, but resistance is still holding steady in enlightened bedrooms around the world. The pleasure of looking around with no intention, no responsibility, no interest, no reward, and with maximum comfort, can hardly be matched.

And I wonder if that was not what God did on the seventh day, after creating the heavens and the earth. He woke up, so to speak, and stayed in bed, looking around. A twirling galaxy here. The sprint of the tiger there. The music of thunderstorm a couple continents down the road. The fashioning of the universe was accomplished; the morning of enjoyment had begun. God took a day off, wonder of wonders, he lied and rolled and sat and jumped on his bed.

That’s a God who knows about life. That’s a God worthy of the highest praise. That’s a God I want to snuggle up with one day and look around together, someone who can make fun of people’s hair, who can tell impossible stories and talk about girls, a partner worthy of lame jokes, high fives and laughing until our bellies hurt.

[1] G. K. Chesterton, On Lying in Bed and Other Essays by G. K. Chesterton, ed. Alberto Manguel (Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2000)


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