What a challenge… to be awake. The literal sense of being awake is a difficult enough task at times, but the deeper, the meaningful, the real awake is an even more elusive creature.
Every time I go through my little devotional I get stuck at the same page. It challenges me to rise up and be in the moment.
To soak in the shower, not just the water into my skin, but the sublime experience into my me.
To notice the inch my daughter grew last night, and play a game with her before she adds yet another.
To listen to the meadowlark’s morning love song and make his notes my own.
To savor that ordinary and beautiful bite of the same breakfast that I’ve had for the past thirty years.
To be aware of the oak leaf along the driveway that is larger and smoother than it was yesterday, and the flowers that were only buds but now flaunt their petals at each passing bee.
To listen to each and every person who speaks in my general direction, not in anticipation of my turn to gab, or merely in any manner of other good and noble ways, but specifically to meet them and commune with them, here and now.
To take the time to watch the swallow preen and bathe and test his groggy, soggy, waking wings, only to return to his perch and do it all over again until truly satisfied with his job.
To be thankful for that bristling waking moment when my husband’s elbow lands squarely in my face.
To notice the subtle changes in the breeze, and make the necessary in-flight adjustments with joy.
To be awake to the miracle of this very moment.
I get stuck at this simple reminder to wake up and be present, because as I walk away and into my day, the words – day after day – seem to fizzle and take flight. But the next morning, there they are again, asking me how yesterday went. “Did you pay attention?” I hang my head in shame, take a deep breath, and close the book with another round of resolve to open my eyes, refusing to move on to the next morsel of wisdom until I manage to let this one sink in.
I can usually perk the senses and open the mind long enough to get through my morning routine. I am often awake through my quick morning walk. Sometimes I have moments of spontaneous remembrance and gratitude that shake up the banality of my day. Lord knows there are plenty of opportunities to wake up. But I find that the temptation to sleep through life sadly wins the day more often than not. The lure of a self-centered existence and shrunken world too often catches me.
Today I am thankful not so much for those precious moments of clarity and true sight – beautiful though they are – nor certainly for the overwhelming odds against my rising up – though a coma does make each waking moment a vivid miracle – but for the little book that reminds me that the effort is not only worth it, but necessary, and for the life that surrounds me with every reason to be awake.
* Photo courtesy of Emily