About “A Napper’s Companion”
Some interests are common. My wife Kathy loves sailing and has been to Tenerife, Lisbon, and the British Virgin Islands. A Lutheran pastor I know makes wine, enters competitions, takes home ribbons. A lawyer who sips coffee beside me at Starbucks loves his Harley, even named his boxer after it.
Other interests are weird. I once met a young woman who takes a picture of every meal with her smart phone. A few years ago the television program Oddities featured a woman who made miniature teddy bears from belly button lint. Jonathan Lee Riches got into the Guinness Book of World Records for filing law suits against everyone and everything from Nostradamus to Black History Month to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter–as of August 24, 2010, he was in a Kentucky prison, getting therapy, he said (oddee.com).
I’m a nap enthusiast, which puts me in the weird group. When I tell people I’m working on a napping memoir, some raise their eyebrows as if to say, “Eh, okay, whatever works for you.” But many in this oversubscribed, jangled, chronically fatigued world hear napping and offer me a Buddhist half smile. Ah, napping. Yes, napping. The word alone invites a cleansing breath.
World-class napper Winston Churchill said, “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” Not only do I spend an hour each day following Churchill’s lead, but I also read and write about midday rest and all sane and gentle practices. Any voice that says, “Slow down,” “Be aware,” or “Breathe” gets my attention.
This blog is my way of being a companion to others who find that stopping in the middle of a busy day for a nap has a way of leaving the spirit’s door open a crack so grace can come in.
I’m John Coleman, father to Elena and Micah, husband to Kathy, pastor at Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Erie, Pennsylvania, and writer of whatever I please. Since I studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins nearly thirty years ago–good Lord!–I’ve written just about every day. It used to be mostly poetry, which I published in literary journals (e.g. The Southern Review, The Literary Review, College English, The Southern Poetry Review, and so on). During those years, like a lot of poets, I was a college English professor. Shortly before Elena was born in 1988 I had a nervous breakdown (panic attacks, depression, ugh), and my attention and writing turned to putting my life back together. I published Questions from Your Cosmic Dance (Hazelden) in 1997, the same year I began seminary studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. In 2002, the year after I was ordained, The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus (Jossey-Bass) came out.
For the last couple of years I’ve been working on that napping memoir (tentatively entitled The Blessed Oblivion of Midday) and reworking for probably the tenth time Oh! Be Joyful!, a collection of notes to my future grandchildren.
When I’m not napping, reading and writing about napping, and doing church work, I run to ward off obesity, cook (and, Kathy claims, bomb the kitchen), pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming that I’ve got such a wonderful family, and practice contemplative prayer. I’m grateful.
If anything you read on A Napper’s Companion makes you want to talk to me, I’d love to hear from you. Be welcome to e-mail me at JohnColemanObl@gmail.com. Peace.