Can I Tuck You In?

Last night, a dear friend of mine agrees to visit my children around bedtime to read stories and “tuck them in.”  It’s so whimsical and comforting:  a loving friend stops by, has a bedtime snack with you, reads you your favorite book, says bedtime prayers, and leaves you sleeping soundly by 8:30 PM.  That’s a great tuck-in.

The Perfect Tuck-In

I want to hire her to tuck me in.

When do we stop needing that moment at the end of the day when somebody gets us situated in a snug spot and goes through a ritual designed to transition us into dreamland?

As I’m lying on the floor listening to the bedtime stories, I recall great tuck-in moments.  My dad used to throw my sister and me over his shoulder as his “sack of potatoes” to carry us up the stairs to bed.  The sack-of-potatoes tuck-in brought me so much security and joy each night. 

Years later, I was a camp counselor presented with the challenge of tucking in 7th grade girls.  For the ten girls in my cabin at Camp Greystone, I read the Bible with a flashlight in a soft voice as they listened in their bunks.  Then, I walked around the cabin, touched heads, straightened blankets, leaned over, and whispered something simple like:  “I hope you have a great night’s sleep and wonderful dreams.”  I would mention something I noticed about their days–something good that happened–and I’d remind them of the great day they would have tomorrow.

I tucked them in.  

They were 13 years old.  They seemed to hate it at first.  They’d turn their face away and act like they’d already fallen asleep.  But within a week, they’d beg for the tuck-in, reminding me that I should do this and saving tidbits of joy to share with me.

Another great tuck-in memory came as I recalled the year the preschool had an auction to raise money.  One of the auction items was a tuck-in from the teacher!  She’d arrive in her cow printed pajamas and appear in your bedroom for stories.  Families fought to win that prize.  The tuck-in prize was the single highest grossing item at the auction.  

I’m older now, and there’s nobody tucking me in.  And what about all my friends?  Who tucks them in?

I want to tuck my loved ones in.  I know I can’t literally do this (maybe I could), but I can symbolically provide tuck-in moments.  I can make a phone call, send a text, write an email, say a prayer.   I can send out a million reminders that you’re secure and safe, loved and cherished. 

I crawl into my own bed.  I make a snug spot and remind myself of these things.  I read a book to myself and say my prayers.  I’m secure.  I’m tucked in. 


A Solution to Insecurity

Today, I remembered something unique about God’s economy.  In Christianity, the move you give, the more you receive.  The times when you feel last, you are actually first.  The times you act as a servant, you become the leader.  I wonder about this upside down approach to living.  Some mornings, I feel the weight of various insecurities–mostly relational or financial.  I worry about all sorts of relationships: family, friends, co-workers.  And then I worry about financial things:  what I need, what my children will need, what our future might require of our resources.

What a debilitating way to conduct myself during the day!  Insecurity becomes a prison.  Insecurity keeps my focus on myself–what I need, what I’m getting, and what I’m not getting.  I feel insecure because of what I think I’m missing. 

What’s the solution to insecurity?  

Insecurity arises out of a heart that’s concerned with what it’s not getting.  When I turn the kaleidoscope and focus on what I can give, who I can love, and what I can provide for others, I see the day in a whole new way. I stop worrying so much about myself because I’m living abundantly according to spiritual and not material principles. 

I’m trying to teach my children that as long as they worry about who likes them and what they can accumulate, they will continue to live under the illusion of security.  Their souls won’t rest.  But when they choose to love and give generously to others, miraculously, they find the kind of relational and financial security they seek.  It’s the model that Jesus teaches, however confusing and however counter-intuitive.   I pray we can have the wisdom to live like that.