The bedroom is one of the most private and intimate places in our lives. Who are you sharing it with? Who are you sleeping with tonight?
Few places in the house are as private as the bedroom. Sure, some people have special places on their couch or a secret cupboard they like to spend time in, but by and large, the most personal and private details of our lives are present in our bedroom. It contains most of our interests. It’s the place we return to at the end of a long day or a trip overseas. Even after a long break, there’s still something special about coming home to your own bed.
My favourite band, TFK, said of the bedroom that it’s “a place where I feel strong, a place where I belong”. Most of our biggest decisions are made in the bedroom. And usually the most intimate details of our lives are present in our rooms – our hobbies, our accomplishments, the mess we make, the music we listen to, the books we read, maybe even some things we don’t want everyone seeing (whether that be those hideous pajamas or something else entirely).
One of the most intimate activities two people can share is to sleep together. Whether there is sexual activity or not, the very act of sharing a room is deeply personal. You come into their world. You are at your most real when you’re in that room. The mask is off. You are completely yourself. You stop running, you stop being busy, and all your deepest thoughts are present.
And many of us are not going to bed by ourselves.
Who are you sleeping with tonight? Here are 4 people we probably should stop having that overnight affair with.
The words we wish we’d said
There’s a funny meme that does the monthly rounds of social media showing a person who is tired for the whole day – when they wake up, when they’re at work, when they’re cooking – but once they hit the pillow, they’re wide awake. It’s funny because it describes how most of us actually feel in our lives. The bedroom becomes a place where all the thoughts of the day that we didn’t properly address or have time for coming sweeping into our minds.
And some of the most prominent thoughts we have are about the words we wish we had said.
Have you ever had a conversation that you just wish had gone another way? Not necessarily because of what the other person said, but because of what you said? Or didn’t say?
The crazy thing is we spend the night hours tortured by the words we so desperately want to say to someone else, but as the sun rises, we can’t find the courage to speak out what we had spent the night wishing we could say. One of the psalmists said of the night hours and keeping things to himself, “When I was silent, I wasted away in my groanings through the night”.
But what if it wasn’t actually too late for you to have the conversation you so desperately want to have? To say the words that would make things right? To ask the questions that would give you the clarity you need?
The other person can’t hear the words you dream about unless you speak them out the next day. Maybe those words need to stop being the words that keep us up at night and start being the words we’re going to make sure get said tomorrow.
In a similar vein, we spend so much of our day avoiding big decisions. What do we want to do with our lives? We’ll keep putting that decision off. How are we going to spend our time? It doesn’t really matter right now. What are we going to do about this massive opportunity that’s presented ourselves?
It’s in the privacy of your bedroom that you are hammered by those crossroads in your life.
Should you say yes or no? Should you take the job or take a holiday? Should you build or tear down? How should you reprioritize your life given the changes coming your way?
The fact that they’re keeping you awake means you need to give these decisions more of your daylight hours to get serious about dealing with. Get some advice. Talk to some people. Give it a go. Count the cost. Think it through. Make a decision – you’ll sleep much easier once you’ve actually done something about it. It’s exhausting avoiding making a choice you know you need to make.
Loneliness is magnified at night time. In Japan, you can actually buy boyfriend or girlfriend pillows, which make the noises of a man or a woman sleeping throughout the night. For many people, the bedroom in the night is the place where the frustrations and the emptiness you have in your friendships and relationships are magnified a hundredfold. I’m not trying to belittle this at all – this is very real for a whole lot of people.
This is one reason why sex is so powerful. Because it speaks to one of our greatest needs – to be loved and accepted – and it does so in the place of our greatest vulnerability, usually in the bedroom. Sexual actions and even sexual thoughts have such power at night because that’s when we’re really us. We’re thinking our deepest thoughts. We’re confronted by our deepest insecurities.
And it’s not always sexual. Sometimes the night is the time where you are reminded of how isolated you feel, even though you’re surrounded by hundreds of others. Seen by so many in your career, but feeling disconnected. Able to talk to hundreds of people, but unable to find the meaningful connection you long for with one or a few people.
Maybe it’s in these moments where we need to recognize how much we really need each other. We were made for each other. I honestly believe one of God’s greatest gifts to us is the gift of the lives of other people, whether they be friends, family, lovers, or otherwise. And as much as we may avoid it, hate it, love it, or deny it, we need people in our lives.
Instead of letting that frustrate us, maybe it’s a good opportunity to recognize that we need to do something about how we feel about those relationships in our lives. Instead of just letting it eat at us as we’re trying to sleep, why not let us spur ourselves into action tomorrow morning? To make the phone calls we need to make, to let our walls down a little bit more, to be honest about we’re feeling and what we feel we need. To ask for what you really want.
How do you really feel about your life?
What is it you actually feel when your head hits the pillow and your heart keeps beating faster and faster? Sure, you tell people you have it all together, and you know what you want, and blah blah blah.
But how do you really feel?
The night time tells you. And the unfortunate truth is that many of us feel a deep sense of emptiness as the day draws to an end. The emptiness of dissatisfaction with who we are, what we’ve become, or where we’re going. All of this is an identity problem.
Who am I? What is my purpose in this world?
If you spend your whole day running away or avoiding those questions, the night time is there to remind you of how foundationally important they are to your existence.
Do you know why you’re alive? Do you have a sense of hope, or does it all just look hopeless? Do you know that you’re loved, or do you keep wishing that someone was there to look after you as you sleep?
But they say you’re always there, you never leave. Even when we don’t believe.
And that sounds like love to me.
Yeah I know, this post wasn’t necessarily about the physical person you may be sleeping with. But maybe in sleeping with them, or even by yourself, there’s actually also one of these other “people” in bed with you. Either way, I think it’s important that we take those night time thoughts and process them properly.
PS. This post was inspired by the song “In My Room” by TFK, you can check it out here.