More time than wanted with the box store mattress

Published 12:55 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

I love my mattress. Could someone smarter than me turn that line into a top radio hit? Maybe, maybe not.

But at any rate, I love my mattress. But, to be entirely transparent, I hate it, too.

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I’m sorry, Mom. You taught us to never hate anything. I hope I can get a matriarchal dispensation for this express moment in time. Or maybe a presidential pardon.

But at any rate, I have a love-hate relationship with my mattress predicated by my current circumstances.

Normally, at the end of the day, I crawl into my bed and pull a zillion covers up over me. (Extra covers are always needed when married to a woman who likes the bedroom temperature to be the equivalent of a meat locker.) At those times, my mattress is comfortable, comforting, and a welcome cocoon for restful sleep.

And if, by chance, you’re thinking this guy must have a fancy, high-dollar mattress, let me disabuse you of that notion. Imagine a mattress-in-a-box. When this one is worn out, I’ll buy another just like it.

At the risk of sounding like a guy off his rocker a bit, there is a reality to my love-hate relationship with my mattress.

As I write these words, I’ve been spending way more time horizontally than I could ever want. A week ago, I suffered a compression fracture of my L1 vertebra and the only place I find relief from the pain is stretched out prone on – you guessed it – my mattress.

It doesn’t look like I’ll face any surgery in the future, but I will be ever so glad for this episode of life to be in my rearview mirror. I have every faith that it will get better.

But in the meantime, let me assure you that none of this is written to incur your sympathy. Not at all.

So why all of this?

Simply because of what the apostle Paul says in James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring – what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes.” (CSB17)

A compression fracture in my spine was never on my to-do list. It wasn’t planned, wanted, or desired, but ready or not, here it is.

None of us truly knows what tomorrow might bring. We can plan for, save for, and strive to build the life we envision, and still, it could all change in a quick minute.

This isn’t meant to be maudlin or discouraging. On the contrary, it is meant to be challenging and encouraging.

Even in all of life’s unwanted surprises, be grateful for where you are, be present with the ones you love, and most of all, keep God first.

I’m blessed, and so are you!

Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at