Denise Day Spencer

October 22, 2006

Eyes wide shut

Filed under: Home Front — denisedayspencer @ 10:46 pm

No, this essay has nothing to do with the movie by the same name–which I have not seen. It just seemed like a good title for this piece. I’m going to confess one of the many reasons why I am a pretty pitiful excuse for a minister’s wife.

I have always been easily lulled into a somnolent state. Whenever Michael and I go somewhere in the car, he drives and I’m supposed to keep him company, keep him awake. Sounds like a good plan, right? Wrong. Like a baby in a carseat, after the first few miles my head is back and my mouth is open and drooling. Trying to read to stay awake just makes it worse. Listening to the radio does no good. I sit there, cranium bouncing like a bobblehead, until I nearly choke on my tongue and wake myself with a loud, unladylike snore. Meanwhile, poor Michael is turning the radio up louder, frantically chewing gum and splashing water from his water bottle into his eyes in an attempt to stay awake himself. Every now and then I’ll rouse myself enough to ask, “Gee, Honey, are you having a hard time? Do you want me to drive?” “YOU?!” he exclaims with horror. “That would kill us both!” I know he’s disappointed that I’m not a better traveling companion, and so am I.

But the real fun starts when my poor husband preaches or teaches. Oh, how many times I have dozed through Bible studies and nodded my way through sermons. In 28 years of marriage, the instances are too vast to number. Now let me say right here that I truly believe Michael is one of the best Bible teachers and preachers I’ve ever heard in my life. Ever. His messages are never dull, even if I’m listening to a chapel talk that’s been re-worked from a Sunday sermon that I just heard the day before. And I try to stay alert; I DO! I strain to really listen. I take notes. I chew gum, and in Bible study I sip hot tea.

I am not bored! I’m just tired, and the older I am, the worse it gets. I work full-time, and I’m generally quite busy at work. I never get exactly enough sleep at night. I exercise every day, and work out at the gym three or four times a week. On Saturdays I clean the bathrooms, sweep and mop the floors, empty the trash cans, change the cat litter, clean out the aquarium, do a couple of loads of laundry, and usually cook one good meal. So when I finally sit down, get comfortable, and everything’s relatively quiet, I’m simply gone.

Poor Michael does everything he can to handle the situation with grace. He never chides me, but does make mention of it in a teasing fashion. “Well,” he’ll say, “You should be feeling good now; you had a nice little nap in Bible study.” But I know it must hurt his feelings. Sometimes he’ll sigh and say, “I know I do drone on and on…” At other times he’ll joke with others, “Yeah, I can’t even keep my own wife awake.” And so I buy more gum to keep stashed in my Bible.

So the big news is, now I’ve found yet another way to insult my husband: podcasts! He’s been posting wonderful podcasts for some time now over on, and if you haven’t been listening, you really should check them out. I need something to listen to while I do my nightly at-home traction. I’ve been listening to music, but I recently thought, “I should listen to Michael’s podcasts while I lie here. That will give me something to enjoy and it’ll be a good use of my time.” Sounds great in theory, doesn’t it?

Well, last night after a very full day, I finally dropped my head off the old ironing board (if you don’t understand that, read my essay “Bent” sometime) and put on Michael’s latest podcast. I heard the intro. I remember his explaining the topic. I have a vague recollection of his saying something was “baloney.” And that’s it. Nothing else made it past my ears into my brain. We had gone to see the movie The Prestige yesterday, and whatever mental images I was entertaining from the podcast faded into a dark stage where Michael was involved in some sort of InternetMonk magic show. I was dimly aware of the podcast’s ending, but I couldn’t move. I’m supposed to stay in traction for 20 minutes. About half an hour after the recording stopped, Michael stuck his head in the door on his way to bed. “Did I put you to sleep?” he asked. I tried to rouse myself quickly. “Oh, I just now dozed off,” I lied. “Your podcast was great!” It’s a good thing he woke me, or I’d probably be lying there still, my vertebrae fused into a hyperextended state.

This morning after Michael left to go to Bible study, I turned on the laptop and played the podcast again as I got dressed and put on my makeup. Wow. When I’m awake, I’m impressed with how good my husband is! Later, as we went to the dining hall for lunch, I craftily asked him a question about something he’d said on the recording so he would think I’d really been listening last night. Maybe I can continue playing each broadcast twice and keep the poor dear fooled.

Well, at least until he reads this post.



  1. Those podcasts are like 15 minutes. Sheesh.

    Comment by Clay Spencer — October 22, 2006 @ 11:14 pm | Reply

  2. […] responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. 🙂 Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your ownsite. […]

    Pingback by The Boars Head Tavern » Blog Archive » Eyes Wide Shut: Denise’s Excellent Post on Sleeping Through Our Marriage — October 24, 2006 @ 3:06 am | Reply

  3. Perhaps re-framing this could be fun. As I see it, Michael’s preaching/teaching transports you. You’re proleptically enjoying your eternal Sabbath rest, and you experience that Sabbath rest via Michael’s teaching. It’s a kingdom thing of great grace and beauty.

    Comment by GL — October 24, 2006 @ 4:47 am | Reply

  4. “Perhaps re-framing this could be fun. As I see it, Michael’s preaching/teaching transports you. You’re proleptically enjoying your eternal Sabbath rest, and you experience that Sabbath rest via Michael’s teaching. It’s a kingdom thing of great grace and beauty”

    BWAHAHAHAHAAHA!!! Warm milk and blankets are my ‘Sabbath rest’ of choice.

    Its funny, I was istening to an NT wright sermon the other day and wanted to share it with my wife. It was on my ipod, and we both layed down on the bed and split the earpieces between us. Within 3 mintues both of us were sound asleep and NT just kept rolling. DOn;t feel bad Micheal, you’re in good company. Excellent piece Denise!

    Comment by Torquemada — October 24, 2006 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  5. […] My wife has written an entertaining essay about her struggle to stay away when I am anywhere in the vicinity. Those of you who are looking forward to the excitement of marriage may want to read this to see just how exciting marriage can be. Preachers….if you once wanted a large church, but now you’d just like a few people to stay awake through your sermon, then this post is for you. […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » Eyes Wide Shut: Denise Spencer and the Struggle to Stay Awake — October 25, 2006 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  6. I laughed out loud several times during this. This is SO funny (and so well-written). I’m glad Michael linked us to this.

    steve 🙂

    Comment by Steve Sensenig — October 25, 2006 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  7. Sounds like my wife. Everytime I see her it’s after she’s had a full day with a baby. She likes to have me read to her at night – not so that she can learn anything but because, as she says (and this always makes me feel great about myself) “Your voice puts me to sleep.”

    Comment by kcillini77 — October 25, 2006 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  8. Poor Michael! I’m happy to say that I do stay awake through his podcasts. :0)

    I sympathize with the commenter above; Wright has a very soothing voice.

    Comment by Kyle — October 25, 2006 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  9. When my colleague and I used to take high school students to classical music concerts, we would always drift off during the evening, which the kids would enjoy relating to their parents.

    It was the same for us as for you, Mrs Spencer: as soon as we stopped fussing about and sat down, we were off in the land of Nod.

    Great story.

    Comment by David McKay — October 26, 2006 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  10. […] Denise Day Spencer writes a classic post, Eyes Wide Shut. … But the real fun starts when my poor husband preaches or teaches. Oh, how many times I have dozed through Bible studies and nodded my way through sermons. – Posted in preaching by dennislaing   […]

    Pingback by The Mayberry Driven Church » Does You Wife Snooze While You Preach? — October 29, 2006 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

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    Comment by Vivexin — September 13, 2013 @ 8:07 am | Reply

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