I'm in Abidjan. It's my third night to sleep in a waterbed. Our daughter and her husband, moved out of their bedroom, and turned it over to Ben, their twelve-year-old son, and me.
I don't know whether it's the T-bone steak plus the half hamburger I finished off for Ben last night at the Golf Hotel, or the two mangoes and a papaya I ate after we came home ... anyway, sleep has left me, and some waterbed wisdom has been going through my head. So, for what it's worth, here it is!
Waterbed wisdom number one:
IT’S EASIER TO "GET INTO" THAN TO "GET OUT OF"!
Not that it's easy to get into. The experience is something like what happens when you are water skiing and they cut the motor. It's a backward plunge with nothing to hang onto! A salesman for waterbeds in Springfield, Missouri, told me how to avoid this. You place one knee over the rail onto the bed ... facing the headboard. Then you bend the knee of the other leg slightly so that you are in a crouching position. Then, presto! you go into bed with a rolling motion. Simple ... except that I have an aversion to having to take lessons on how to get into bed!
But if you think getting in is hard, just try getting out of a waterbed! I'm glad I'm a young sixty-two and healthy, because if I were an old man, I'd never make it. What one needs is an overhead strap like they've got in airport buses ... or someone to throw you a life preserver. Getting up over that bed rail is a sport for young people!
The wisdom is obvious, isn't it? You'd better think twice before you get into something, or you may never get out. Taking the plunge can be exhilarating, but getting out of a fix is something else.
Waterbed wisdom number two:
LIFE WITHOUT RESTRICTION HAS ITS DISADVANTAGES
I was always told that the wonderful thing about waterbeds is that there are no pressure points ... no areas of resistance. You just float. And that's the truth. You do. But floating can be a bit disconcerting when you're used to relying on something or someone for support. For instance, I want to turn over. Now, to get started I need to push off from my position in order to get where I'm going. In my bed at home, that's no problem. I press with my elbow and my body comes up. I push with my leg and my torso turns. Not so with a waterbed. I push, and the water parts like the Red Sea, and I'm in the same position as I was before. Don't rely on a waterbed. It's not there when you need it!
Wisdom! There's a price you pay for floating. If you don't build solid relationships with those around you, you won't find the support you need when the going gets rough.
Waterbed wisdom number three:
WHAT YOU DO AFFECTS THOSE AROUND YOU
I guess it was because I was heavier than Ben ... or maybe he was just restless ... but last night he was over on my side a lot. I know this ... every time I moved my big carcass, poor Ben bounced like a ship on a wave!
Being in a waterbed is like sleeping with an elephant. Every time he moves, you move. My wife and I have considered buying a waterbed but have opted against it. You see, had I been home and couldn't sleep, Macey might not have known that I sneaked out of bed to write this article. I say, "Might not have ..." because I don't often get by with it even in our regular bed. But in a waterbed ... forget it! My exit would be a billowy give-away!
The moral of waterbed wisdom number three is, "No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." People's lives are affected by what you do, and saying, "It's none of their business" doesn't change the fact. Your kid brother is going to copy you. If you want him to "go straight" then you owe it to him to "shape up" yourself. That goes for sisters and peers too. No man is an island.
Waterbed wisdom number four:
IT TAKES MORE THAN A WATERBED TO MAKE ONE SLEEP
I tried everything, but sleep wouldn't come. The pressure points were eliminated. There was no resistance. After the initial plunge and the sensation of riding the waves, I floated on a calm sea. Ben wasn't big enough to create waves, so I couldn't blame my insomnia on him.
It's a funny thing, isn't it? I had attained the ideal in sleeping comfort, but couldn't sleep. Everything possible had been done to give me rest... but I had no rest. Then I got back into bed and tried to sleep. Sleep wouldn't come, I dug into my brief case and got out a couple of Rolaids. Maybe the steak and the fruit were the culprits. Wrong again! Then I began to think about waterbeds, and that triggered a mental explosion. So here I am trying to pick up the pieces.
My final waterbed wisdom is this:
REST OF MIND AND SPIRIT DOES NOT COME FROM THE WATERBEDS OF WEALTH AND CREATURE COMFORTS.
We are forever creating little havens for ourselves, thinking that they are the answer to happiness. Not so ... and we all know it. The affluent and the famous are poor proof that "having" makes for contentment. The utopias of this world are populated with malcontents.
Peace is the product of right relationships, and rest of spirit starts by getting right with God. Vertical reconciliation makes possible horizontal reconciliation. Peace on earth and good will toward men comes to those who develop a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. "Come unto me," Jesus said, "and I will give you rest."
So much for waterbed wisdom. Sleep well!