Awakenings

This blog entry was written in concert with many other bloggers as a synchro-blog, in response to an invitation by She Loves magazine.

In his autobiography Tales of Wonder, Huston Smith describes mornings at boarding school as a boy:

“I awoke the same way each morning. I would shoot bolt upright in bed, stretch out my arms, and yell, “Good!” I may wake up differently today, but I still say under my breath a loud good to the world.”

As someone whose sleep has been disordered for the better part of her life, I was profoundly jealous when I read that anecdote. It has been the rare morning when I have woken up all at once, much less done so gladly, optimistically, even benevolently. I am a slow waker: even if I am up and moving around, you cannot be assured that I am fully conscious – and it takes some time before I am glad to be awake.

I’ve been a slow waker in the faith, too. I have always felt close to God – I remember praying while swinging on my backyard swing as a preschooler. And everywhere I have gone, from my elementary school playground to college keggers to city street corners, I have met people unfamiliar with Jesus and connected their desires and convictions with Jesus’ teachings.

And yet… and yet I can point to the time as an adult when I was introduced to God’s grace, God’s unconditional love for me in particular, and how angry it made me at the time, how untrue and impossible it seemed. I slowly awoke to God’s grace – unlike some who awoke all at once, bolt upright with arms outstretched shouting “Good,” I cannot point to a moment when I said yes to God’s grace. Instead, I know that sometime around the beginning of 2002, I noticed that I was awake – I noticed that I had believed for some time that I (and every other person! Every person and that meant even me!) was particularly beloved and particularly forgiven and particularly worth dying for.

We are all different. Jesus and Paul speak with one voice on this: we are not meant to run around comparing ourselves to others; instead, God’s love for us frees us to be the unique servants of God that we were each created to be. I wake up slowly – it is a gift, part of what I have to offer the world. Huston Smith wakes up all at once – that is a gift, too.

One of the lovely things about reading the blog entries inspired by Idelette McVicker’s invitation to synchro-blog on the theme Awake for She Loves magazine is the opportunity I have had to celebrate the diversity of voices and gifts not my own. There is a great cascade of them – too many to hold onto any one and be jealous that I am not her, that I do not have her voice, her talent, her experience. Instead I can celebrate that God has given us too much to be contained in any one voice, any one life – in concert we witness to the magnitude of God’s goodness: We are all awake, and however we got here, however long it took, whenever we noticed our arrival at wakefulness, in our writing we echo God’s “Good!” to all creation.

4 responses

  1. Sarah, THIS is a gift to me. I think I have spent more time gazing at others’ gifts in awe, jealousy, or envy than I have in developing or celebrating the gifts I have been given to use. You captured just the right attitude toward the stream of gifts we encounter in life: “Good!” Thanks for writing this.

    • Me too, Jenn. I think a lot of us spend more time than we admit wishing we were more like someone else. I wrote it because so often *I* need reminding to celebrate my gifts and celebrate others’ gifts, too. I am glad that it spoke to you today!

  2. Thanks, Idelette – and thanks especially for conducting! What a wonderful opportunity you presented us with, to meet one another through our writing and hear the music coming together!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s