No surprise that my husband and I both startled out of our groggy slumber.
It was my mother-in-law, who lives in her own home, but cannot drive. She was in pain. A lot of pain.
My husband and I decided I would take her to the hospital while he stayed with our 9-year-old, who was fast asleep and unaware of the phone call.
Hospital emergency rooms are clarifying places, aren’t they?
As we waited for tests, I listened to the drone of hospital noise.
Footsteps on cold tile floor. Beeps and flashes from medical machines. The rhythmic opening and closing of doors. The distant chatter of nurses and doctors, rambling through their own lingo of acronyms and medical-ese.
Unless you truly are dying or show up with a gaping chest wound, emergency rooms ironically feel anything but urgent. This is no reflection on the staff, who more often than not are compassionate and professional.
But even they can move the process along only so fast.
So there is waiting. And more waiting. The drone of hospital noise your constant companion.
Fortunately, my mother-in-law will be okay. For now. She is elderly, though, wrought with health issues.
Six hours in an emergency room in the wee hours of a sleepy Sunday morn gives a person time to think, my mind drifting to the fragility of life. And the shortness of it, really.
And because I blog about sex and marriage, I am keenly perceptive of how “plenty of time later” shows up when some married people talk about sex.
For the record, when a married couple struggles sexually, usually one person is indifferently camping in “plenty of time later,” while the other spouse is desperately wondering, “When will that time ever come?!!”
Are you aware of the mantra “plenty of time later?”
Plenty of time later to fix what is wrong with our marriage and our sexual intimacy.
Plenty of time later after the kids are grown. After money isn’t so tight. After a climb up the career ladder.
Plenty of time later to stop believing the lies about sex.
Plenty of time later to fix our miscommunication. To forgive. And to genuinely humble ourselves and heal the pain in our sexual disconnection.
Even if you do bank on there being plenty of time later (a risky roll of the dice for sure), possibly a more important question is, “How do you want to spend it?”
It sounds so cliche to say life is short and time is fleeting. Behind every cliche is a sliver of truth, though; an epiphany of sorts. You don’t have to wait for 4 a.m. phone calls or endless hours in an emergency room or divorce ultimatums or a host of other “a-ha” moments to start taking care of what matters in your life.
My hope is that your marriage — and sex in your marriage — matter in your life. (Yes, I realize some of you right now are saying, “Yes my marriage matters. But sex? Not so much.”
If you say your marriage matters to you — and there really is no reason you and your spouse couldn’t be having sex on a regular basis, yet you still don’t — then I wonder how much your marriage really matters to you.
Harsh words? Maybe. But they are real words. Humble words.
Is there plenty of time later to fix the sexual struggles in your marriage? Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, don’t you think it’s worth exploring the question now?
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and their two boys. When she's not writing, she's probably drinking ridiculously overpriced coffee.