Slightly sinful, like eating a piece of fine chocolate before taking my vitamins.
Or checking something off my long “To Do” list before I have actually accomplished the task. Or going grocery shopping and deciding to treat myself to a leisurely lunch before going home. Only slightly sinful. Or should I call it “luxurious”? An act of self-care, for after all, the days have been busy, far too busy, and I deserve this.
What am I describing, you ask?
Reading in bed first thing in the morning.
Yes, the alarm went off, as it always does, and my usual routine followed by a list of tasks to tackle awaits. But it is cold beyond my quilt, or rainy on the other side of the darkness, and you know, I think I may be getting a cold. How bad would it be to stay in bed a bit longer? And a good book just happens to be waiting on my bedside table.
Morning reading in bed is bonus reading time for me. I never go anywhere without a book or some other reading material, just in case I need to wait some place. I carve out times during the day to read – lunchtime at my own dining room table, a brief break after a string of chores, and at the end of the day in bed before turning out the light. No matter how tired I am, I must read before closing my eyes and pulling up the covers. But morning reading in bed is a treat I give myself only occasionally.
When I was in the last years of elementary school, my family vacationed for a week or two at a resort in northern Minnesota; the kind of resort that no longer seems to exist. Small, simple cabins with bark cloth curtains on the windows, mismatched dishes, and linoleum on the kitchenette floor and the teeny-tiny bathroom. Our cabin had one bedroom where my younger brother and sister slept and a double bed in the living area for my parents. My bed was on the screen porch. At night we pulled down the skinny wooden blinds, and I turned on the pin-up lamp right above my lumpy bed with its wool blanket, for even summer nights in Minnesota are cool.
I read until my mother called out, “Nancy, it’s time to turn off the light.” I was always reluctant to listen, but I knew I could start my day reading in bed before anyone else stirred. Breakfast time at the lake was casual, and I could read and read until the smell of toast tempted me.
Right now I am reading Susan Branch’s “Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams,” a memoir, which is like finding someone’s scrapbook in your attic. Colorful drawings, recipes, photographs, as well as her personal story in her own handwriting. This is perfect morning reading; reading that separates me from whatever stress or questions or deadlines or needs await me beyond the bedroom’s threshold.
Morning reading in bed extends the dream time.
Morning reading in bed stretches the day … a paradox, I know.
Morning reading both grounds and energizes me.
Morning reading is both a piece of fine chocolate and my daily vitamins.
Nancy L. Agneberg is a “woman of a certain age” (late 60’s), a wife, mother, grandmother … who is discovering the delights and the challenges of this stage of life. She is a trained spiritual director and a writer, currently working on a spiritual memoir. Visit Nancy at her blog, Clearing the Space, One Woman’s Spirituality, www.clearingthespace.blogspot.com.
What are you currently reading? Share with us in the comments.