Evelyn Underhill, when talking about the Lord’s Prayer, said that we prefer to live upon the surface and ignore the deeps. I was reminded of the deeps when I was sitting near the new boy the other night. Dawn was asleep for the evening time frame, and I was not.
Bryce was sleep too. Me and Brooks were together. We were negotiating. He was sleepy and resistant to sleep’s power. I was trying, siding with sleep, lulling him like the last couple weeks.
I told him that he was tired. I told him that I wasn’t going to hold him all the time, every evening, until he went to sleep and while he stayed sleep, and on and on. These are words that just come out and though I was sincere, I felt like I was talking to myself.
Still, we made progress. He was not on my lap or in my arms. He was next to me, on his side, held against the couch, sidelined the way he likes to rest after he’s eaten. He was looking at me. I saw depth in his gaze.
Certainly it was the depth that I brought to the moment. It was the kind of deep moment that sleep deprivation and wonder at humanity-still-new gives a parent. It was slightly humorous, this depth. Normal people don’t experience this particular depth.
It’s like Underhill’s comment. When we’re normal, we stay on the surface. The experience, the unsettling experience, of being deprived makes you abnormal. Abnormality opens you to depth.
To be clear, I am not as sleep-deprived as I could be. And though my friends would say differently, I’m not as abnormal as I could be. But I’m opening slowly. I’m trying to attend to the deeps. I’m trying to be open to what’s there.