If you went to college and you’re like me, you got sleep deprived.
College was a dream come true for me. I had so much freedom – to live on my own (as much as a person in a dorm can anyway), to choose my friends, to manage my day-to-day schedule. Like most students, I ended up procrastinating on studies and stayed up late to meet deadlines. I got so sleep deprived that I’d fall asleep during class, despite licking my lips, taking deep breaths, and balancing my pencil on its eraser so that it’s falling would serve as a signal. My last resort was to push my eyebrows up with my fingers to force my eyes to stay open.
One night I got to bed extremely late. When my alarm clock went off the next morning, I picked it up, held it to my ear, and said, “Hello?”
After getting married, my husband (Lee) and I made plans to continue our schooling in St. Louis (where we also ended up being sleep deprived.) Someone in our Seattle church – I’ve forgotten who – suggested we contact a sister church in St. Louis to get help find an apartment, so we did. A short time later, a young couple (Marv and Shari) who went to the sister church called and offered to let us stay in their apartment while they were on vacation. Can you imagine letting strangers have the key to your place without ever meeting them?
We got to be good friends with Marv and Shari after they got back from vacation. They introduced us to the manager of their apartment complex, and we took a one-bedroom apartment not far from theirs. Of course, we also attended their newly-formed church, where the pastor and his tiny congregation welcomed us with open arms. There we were, far from family and friends, yet God took care of us through our church family. Pastor Fisher and his wife, who had several school-age kids, even invited us for Thanksgiving dinner!
The funny thing about Pastor Fisher was he had a tendency to mispronounce words. Fortunately he was also good-natured about the ensuing laughter. One Saturday night, both Lee and I had to work the night shift. When we got off work at 7 a.m., we decided to go to morning church since we were already up and could sleep the rest of the day. So we sat in our usual place on folding chairs near the front of the meeting room.
In his sermon, Pastor Fisher referred to a vineyard, which he pronounced as two distinct words with a long “i” in the word “vine.” Lee and I chuckled along with everyone else.
But while the pastor continued his sermon, Lee and I continued to laugh. At first, we held it in as best we could, but then one of us let loose with a loud guffaw, which set the other one to giggling. We shook until we had to hang on to our chairs. Afterwards, when several people asked us what was so funny, we decided that if we came to church after working the night shift, we’d make sure we had a quick escape – by sitting in the back row.
Being sleep deprived got worse after our first baby was born. Although she slept for long periods, Lee and I worked alternate night shifts so that one of us was home with her. By then, we had moved to a larger apartment that was on the ground floor.
In June, we finally got the chance to sleep in. But then someone knocked on the door. I tried to ignore it, but the knocking got louder. I nudged Lee and said, “It must be the diaper man. Could you hand him the bucket of dirty diapers?” Lee opened the door, handed the bucket to the man, and got back in bed.
Another knock, even louder than before. Lee went to the door, came back, and said, “It’s not the diaper man. It’s the baby photographer. He says he has an appointment with us for today.” I said, “Could you ask him to come back on any day but Saturday? Saturday’s not good.” I turned over and closed my eyes.
But something was niggling at me.
By the time Lee came back to bed, I’d realized today wasn’t Saturday. No, it was Monday, the first day of our summer break. When we reviewed what had just happened and talked about the poor photographer standing on the porch holding a bucket of dirty diapers, our laughter grew, until we were fully awake.
See what being sleep deprived can do to you?
Posted on December 29, 2015