Some days it’s just hard t0 get up. Believe me, I know this. After raising babies for eight years I can’t remember the last time I slept in.
But this week waking up took on new meaning. Leaving our blustery northwest spring, we hopped a plane in search of sunshine. Prone to over-schedule and under-enjoy our days, it’s how we consciously break free from the chaos and make room for fun. This year it required a 2:30am wakeup call. Did I mention I love to sleep?
Bound for Arizona where endless sunshine is virtually guaranteed, we arrived on time and headed straight to the Grand Canyon. The wind was warm and the sun was hot and it was everything we needed. It always amazes me how much easier it is to breathe outside our normal life.
When the responsibilities and the to-do lists fade away and we’re left with wide-open days, somehow we wake up to the things that really matter. When we actually see each other, instead of the schedules we think we need to keep, something amazing happens. We smile more, laugh easier, relax deeper and have more fun. We wake up to what is right in front of us.
The next morning we woke at 5am so we could see the sunrise over the canyon. It was freezing cold and there were tears getting the boys in the car and I wondered if it would even be worth it. But as I watched the sun wake up to meet the morning I knew one thing for sure: some things are worth getting up for.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away as I watched the sun slowly transform the sky into color and light. It happened slowly and yet all at once: dark to light. The first single ray of light changed the whole sky. I was so glad I woke up to see it.
It made me think how much of my life happens while I’m asleep. Not in the literal sense, but how much of my life is on auto-pilot. Every day the same. And while I’m a person of routine and in so many ways I function better that way, there are parts of my life I don’t want to walk through asleep anymore.
My marriage. Mothering. My calling. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m sleeping through all of them.
I look around at our world and the way things have “progressed” and I’m afraid I’ve been sleeping through that too. Stunned by a culture that sees pornography, pride, addiction, exploitation and entitlement as normal, and we’re okay with it? As people who believe in a God who willingly died for us, don’t we have a responsibility to influence the world for something more? To point to those things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy? I’m afraid I’ve been asleep. Scared. I’ve wrongly believed my tiny part couldn’t make much difference anyway, so why try? Sometimes it seems less painful to stay asleep than to wake up and watch.
Last fall I heard Mark Nepo speak at Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend, and he said: “Being stronger for the breaking is because of the ordinary practice of staying awake. Being present. Leaving nothing unsaid. Living with an open heart.”
We already know we will face trouble in this world. We don’t have control of that. Whether our trials come by fire or a slow burn isn’t our problem. Our problem is how we decide to respond to them. Will we allow the trials to break us of the things He wants to mold and shape and change in us? Will we become stronger for the breaking? Or will we fight His pruning by staying asleep? Numb, judgmental, walled off, bitter, unforgiving and cold.
We tend to overcomplicate things.
As I stood looking out at the sun rising above the rim of the Grand Canyon I realized that usually the best answers are simple. With a Savior who was born to die, and willingly did, I’m reminded that this life is worth living fully awake.
In what area of your life have you been sleeping? What dream or hope, life or vision is trying to come awake?