What is Sleeping with Bread?
During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.” (Linn, Dennis et al, Sleeping With Bread, p.l)
These are the beginning words of a book that introduced me to a practice called the examen. The orphans held on to what nourished them and were thus able to sleep peacefully at night. The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes him by looking at what is giving him consolation in his life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff. (Mary-Lue at Sleeping With Bread)
Several years ago I came across an idea (called examen by Ignatius) in a book by David Benner. He simply called it an evening review, i.e. looking back over one’s day in a non-judgmental fashion (most important) and asking the Holy Spirit to make you aware of God’s presence with you throughout the day. While I still do this several times a week on a regular basis, I’ve been wanting to participate in this meme for a while but never get my act together.
So without further ado, in looking over this past week: For what am I least grateful? Wednesday night I skipped Bible study, in hopes of getting home earlier and getting a good night sleep in preparation for 8 hours of training on Thursday. I’d been burning the candle a bit at both ends and felt the need to just stop and breathe a bit. Disappointingly, I only got about 4 hours sleep! Nevertheless, just stopping has helped me to examine what’s at the root of this candle-burning.
Most grateful? But on the flipside, I stopped for dinner that same Wednesday evening and dragged out a poem I was working on and was happy when something finally gelled. Saturday began with several hours spent with a few travellers on a worship trek, a 3-week journey into the heart of worship, led by our pastor. After that we headed to my parent’s to celebrate Easter and my dad’s birthday. How wonderful to gather together as a family in their new home. Family is family, no matter where you are!
Well, there you have it – my first Sleeping With Bread post. I’m sure as time goes on, the bread-baking will improve. And we’ll cut right to the chase, sans introduction. Thanks for reading.