One of the most interesting quirks about our marriage so far is that we somehow sense when the other is awake, and so we find ourselves awake, too. This was one of those mornings.
Petey gave us the most miserable look when we flipped on the bedroom lamp at about three AM.
I woke up thirsty and downed the full cup of water on my nightstand (I never have the foresight to neatly set out water, but somehow I managed last night). It was more than just dry mouth; it was a gut-level thirst, something that couldn’t wait until after we’d both crawled out of bed.
Simple as it is, I love “thirst” as a substitute verb for terms like desire or want. People understand thirst. It’s basic, maybe primitive. It says more than naming a thing you would like to possess; it names something essential. Happy me, then, to find this passage in the Daily Office — at four AM, no less.
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night…
Psalm 63:1, 5-6
“[A]nd meditate on you in the watches of the night” is, for me, the most accurate, no frills description of what it is to be awake during those unreasonable hours of the night, frantic over not getting sleep.
The “watches of the night” has an anxious feel to it, like the unfavorable could spark up with no warning. How many times have I mumbled to God, “just let me drift away, back to sleep, back to peace,” fighting a similar anxiety?
Sleepy Petey, however, seems indifferent to the pesky frustration of the “watches.”