Every morning, when my alarm sounds and re-sounds every nine minutes, I “snooze” through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The longer I resist getting up, the more comfortable my bed becomes. My face finds that sweet spot on the pillow and I’m blissfully happy … until the alarm blares again and I ask God how long He’ll reject His people.
“Bed is warm!” I whine. “Out there is cold.”
“Bed is quiet! Out there are … people.”
And every morning, as I finally approach acceptance, I think this thought:
“Okay, I’ll get up! But today I’ll take my pillow to work.”
Every single day, however briefly, Bring Your Pillow to Work Day seems like a legitimately good idea.
And wouldn’t that be a funny picture? I, in my desk chair, propped up by my king-sized pillow with the red plaid flannel pillowcase?
I could bring it to staff meeting on Mondays.
“Amy, we’re waiting for you in the conference room.”
“Be right there!” I’d answer. “Just grabbing my pen and paper and … pillow.”
I could even bring a few blankets and make a pallet for myself on my office floor. And my boss would come in to discuss business, and he’d sit above me in a chair while I curled up under the covers.
Between the minutes of 5:45 and 5:54 a.m., all of this seems rational and possible — as though bringing one’s pillow to one’s job would not impact negatively upon one’s employment.
But, alas, pillows don’t belong at the office — especially not king-sized red plaid flannel ones. Work is not the place for sleep. Bed is.
And bed isn’t the place for work, either. I often sit on my bed to do work, with my laptop in front of me and papers around me. My big bed can be a nice place to work, until my legs go tingly from sitting that way too long. But bed is not the place for work. Work is.
My problem, I’m learning, isn’t work or bed or my pillow. My problem is … boundaries.
Or a lack thereof.
Boundaries say, “I’m not going to bring that work home tonight. Tonight is for family and rest and sleep. I’ll go back to work tomorrow.”
Boundaries say, “I’ll get out of bed, and not push snooze, because now is the time for work.”
Boundaries say, “I’ll take full ownership of me — of my time, of my work and rest, of what I eat and what I buy and what I say and even what I think. Instead of complaining about things that are happening to me, I’ll set my parameters and own my choices.”
Boundaries! Boundaries and discipline and responsibility. More of these in my life would mean more confidence, knowing who I am and what I’m about. More boundaries would mean more freedom, not swayed by every whim or derailed by every distraction.
Boundaries mean freedom — how ironic! — in the same way that telling a child no ultimately gives him a better yes. Freedom isn’t the absence of limitations; rather, boundaries make true freedom possible.
So when the alarm goes off tomorrow — or when the pile of work begs to be taken home this weekend, or when any number of things seek to substitute a temporary, artificial solution — I’ll set a boundary.
I’ll set a boundary … and be set free.