Getting poked

As I settled into the bed last night at the hotel, looking forward to a great night’s sleep before the big day of Ministry Assessment, something about my pillow didn’t feel quite right.  At first I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Trouble with pillows is hardly something new – it’s actually quite normal.  I’m a rather picky-pillow-person.

I usually go through several pillows every year, and even then, sometimes it takes several iterations to find just the right one.  When we were first married, I remember John even making a late-night run to Walmart to buy me a new pillow because my old one had “died” and it was completely unworkable for a single minute longer.

So as I fluffed, punched, turned, folded and shook out my pillow last night I didn’t think much of it.  Laying down a second time, hopeful my pillow problems were solved, I quickly found out they weren’t.  Was that a poke?  Turning the pillow over, I tried again.  What’s so poky?  I tried another pillow.  Poke.  Poke.  And another pillow.  Poke.  Poke.  Poke.  By this time it was 12:43 (I looked in frustration!) and my pillow problems were persisting.

A quick survey of the pillow quickly enlightened me.  A feather (or 2 or 3!) was poking out of my pillow.  The pillows were down – real down – with feathers and all!  Now I know down pillows are considered to be quite divine.  But getting poked with feathers wasn’t exactly divine in my book – especially at 12:43 AM!  Determined to get some sleep, I grabbed a bath towel, doubled it up, and laid it atop my pillow.  My pillow was finally poke-free, and within minutes I was asleep.

Thinking about the experience, I realized something.  Sometimes the things that bug us, and poke us, aren’t necessarily bad or wrong things.  Many, many people love down pillows.  I’m quite positive the hotel’s down pillows are far more expensive than my $5.99 K-Mart pillow at home.  But it poked me, and I got annoyed.  I wonder how many things we get poked by and annoyed at.  And because they bug us, we naturally assume they must be bad or wrong.  Not necessarily…  What pokes us could well be something very positive and very good.  Maybe it’s a person with a very different personality.  Maybe it’s a challenge or opportunity to push us out of our comfort zone.  Maybe it’s constructive criticism we need to really hear and take to heart.

Let me challenge you that as you get poked by life, pause and reflect on the value and goodness in that poke.  Is it trying to teach you something?  Help you grow?  Push you into new arenas?  Develop your character?  What can you learn, and how can you grow from this poke?

Of course, if you’re just trying to sleep on a pillow that happens to be down, then maybe there is no lesson….which reminds me, I need to go grab that bath towel to rewrap my pillow as soon as I sign off!