Some old men came to see Abba Poemen and said to him, 'We see some of the brothers falling asleep during divine worship. Should we wake them up?' He said, 'As for me, when I see a brother who is falling asleep during the Office, I lay his head on my knees and let him rest.' (Poemen 92)
My dad would not miss church for anything. Right or wrong, in his own way he was faithful to the Lord and to his church. For a decade or so dad worked nights at the steel mill. When those nights happened on Saturday to Sunday morning he cleaned up and came to church directly from the mill.
Dad also loved to sing in the choir. He perched in his chair with a childlike joy born of simple participation. He sang with all his heart. But when the singing was done and the talking begun, his head started bobbing and jerking until he finally drooped in a rather lumpy, propped up, full body snooze. I was always amused.
There are several ways to judge a man who falls asleep in the third chair from the right in the choir loft behind the pulpit. As for me, I think it is one of the finest things my father did.
We are human. God forgive us for despising our humanity. I want the responses of my older years to be like those of Abba Poemen. When weariness overcomes you in the wrong place I will cover you with my cloak. At my funeral I want this to be the story that is told of me.