It’s a rare Sunday morning. I have no obligations. I can attend church services at 8, 9:30, or 11 a.m. Or not at all. Typically, I set my alarm for 5 a.m. so that I can get my tasks done and have a chance to warm up my voice before attending worship practice at 7 a.m.
But this week a guest worship leader has brought in an entire team and none of us regulars are needed.
“Sleep in,” my usual worship leader told me. Actually, I believe his exact words—via Facebook—were “SLEEP IN!”
But it is 4:42 a.m. and I am awake.
I blame my memory foam mattress. It remembers me.
Funny name, memory foam, now that I think about it. Maybe it was supposed to remember its original shape and return to it when you moved. Mine seems to remember how much I weigh. (Clearly, this mattress is not a gentleman.) It swallows me when I sleep and leaves a hollow so deep it takes monumental effort to roll over. Trying to change position awakens me and my back pain. Hence the 4:42 a.m. blog writing exercise.
Now, my mother-in-love’s van remembers her in a positive way. When she turns the key, I can physically see her seat move to her specifications as if to embrace her presence and make her feel she matters. It’s that feeling you get from a waiter who comes to the table with extra lemon with your iced tea or cream with your coffee before you even ask because he remembers what you like. That’s helpful memory.
God’s memory is equally comforting. He has compassion on us because He “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14) and simultaneously “remembers our sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Psalm 103 is a beautiful picture of God’s memory; he can forget our sins and failings while blessing us by healing our diseases, crowning us with love and compassion, and satisfying our desires for good things (like a great mattress?). Though the Bible says the life of mortals is like grass or flowers—here today, gone and forgotten tomorrow—God remembers us and loves us from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:15-17). He is the perfect balance of remembering and forgetting.
Sort of what I expected in a memory foam mattress, I suppose.
My memory reminds me that five years ago, when our old-school mattress had softened into two waterless puddles and had weathered beyond its warranty, my husband and I had looked to the memory foam mattresses as the relief we sought for our middle age back aches. (Plus I wanted to place a goblet of red wine on one side while jumping on the other to see if it really wouldn’t spill.)
We thought we had done our due diligence—checking out the pricey TempurPedic mattress suites in town before paying half price (still big bucks) for an off-brand memory foam mattress from an online store with great reviews.
Did you know they can fake reviews?
We dealt with congenial, back-home friendly Michael (apparently, we were on a first-name basis), whom the reviewers thanked and applauded along with the superior memory foam mattresses. Mike threw in a free king-size mattress cover, and I’m pretty sure we added our applause to the cacophony online.
But I don’t know for sure because I can’t find it. The website doesn’t exist anymore.
I know that because I saved the receipt for the long haul—the 20 years our mattress was guaranteed to last. Five years after our purchase, the website should have its own episode on “Disappeared” or “Without a Trace.”
We thought we had saved money because we’d bought from a warehouse instead of a furniture store with high overhead costs. We thought we’d saved money because we had to haul off our old mattress set and wait at the curb for the delivery of the new. We thought we’d saved money because we had to hoist those awkward and heavy boxed mattresses down the driveway and through the yard and set up the bed ourselves.
Nope. We paid less and we got less. Much less than what we’d hoped.
I’m trying to look at the upside to this experience (while also looking for a truly great deal on a traditional mattress). Yes, my back aches and I’m losing sleep. Yes, the hump in the middle of our bed is getting so high I have to sit up to see if my husband is there. But I’ve learned there is an unforgiving memory and a forgiving one.
My memory foam bed remembers everything about me. You’ve heard the idiom to the effect that “as you make your bed so you must lie on it.” My memory foam mattress makes a me-shaped hollow—which should be a good thing, right? But continuing to lie in it is vastly uncomfortable. The mattress isn’t very forgiving (nor am I).
God, on the other hand, is. He has the perfect memory. He knows me exactly as I am, sees me through the perfection of His Son Jesus Christ, and conveniently forgets my sin. That is balance. That is love. That is how I should love others.
I just hope I can find a mattress that lives up to God’s standards.