Skip to main content

turtles don't sleep

"posada takes a pitch, low and outside for a ball, and the count moves to two and two..." whispers the tv in my bedroom. i can't have it too loud, jack's room is next door to mine, after all. and i wouldn't want to wake him up. "swing and a miss! strike three, and there are two away..." continues the broadcast. the yankees are losing. again. i'm sitting in bed, letting the day's detritis settle down like dust on the furniture. to facilitate this settling in, i'm watching the yankees game, doing a crossword puzzle (does anyone know a 10-letter word for "comical?"). i've got a pencil in my hand, i cold drink on the night stand, and (finally, now that the kids are in bed) a bit of quiet in the house. "that's popped down the left field line and curving foul out of play. two and one now to robbie." i love the sound of a baseball broadcast. its got its own pace and rhythm: a kind of music to me. people say watching baseball is like watching paint dry, and i guess i can understand their frustration with the pace of the game, but i, for one, love it. it is slow and deliberate, paced and precise. like a piece of jazz, it keeps its general form, but speeds up and slows down at times, a kind of improvisational lullaby for me. and so, as i realize that 'hilarious' has only 9 letters, i feel myself slipping into a baseball-induced sleep. the music of the game lulling me into beautiful dreams. "cano swings and hits a bouncer towards second...just out of the reach of roberts, into right field for a two-out hit..." as i surrender my senses to the sweeping movement of the sport, i hear a foreign sound. it's not the broadcaster's voice or the crack of the bat. its not the roar of the crowd or even the blare of a commercial. it is a sweeping noise, a kind of quiet moving noise. so i open my eyes and see him. jack is walking on his hands and feet with his butt stuck way up in the air, like he's playing a moving game of twister. he sees that i notice him, and so he flashes his best "if-i-smile-really-big-there's-no-way-i'm-getting-in-trouble-smile" at me. i say to him, "jackson, what are you doing?"
"no, what?"
"i'm a turtle."
"and cabrera flies out to end the inning, after 6 and a half, it is still yankees 1, orioles 4."
"oh, i see. well, mr. turtle, i think you should be in bed right now."
"no," he replies, with a more than a bit of defiance in his voice. "turtles don't sleep."
what am i supposed to say to that? i've got a 3-year old boy on all fours up way past his bedtime flashing his cutest smile and presenting his well-executed plan for being out of bed. all i can muster up is, "yeah, i'm pretty sure turtles do sleep, and its way past bedtime for this turtle."
as i'm leaving the room after putting him to bed, he tries one more time, "no, turtles do NOT sleep, daddy."
"yes, jack, they do. don't be ridiculous. go to sleep, mr. turtle."
as i settle back into bed, i notice that orioles already have the leadoff man aboard, and it occurs to me that ridiculous has ten letters.
it also occurs to me that these moments, these tiny little insignificant moments, are the moments that matter. as ridiculous as it is, my son pretending to be a turtle is just what i need to remember what this is all about and give me the energy i need to dive headlong into another day.
these are the moments that matter.


cathyq said…
Just think how clever he is to come up with a cover story and execute it with aplomb and panache as he faces the consequences of being out of bed. Wow. If only we were as clever and confident with our plans! Kids rock.(or turtle as it were).
Crafty P said…

cute story.

love the way your wrote it and how it all meshes and weaves together like a warm blanket. i think i'm sleepy...

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …