Arise, O Sleeper

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being awake.

My therapist told me last summer to add more color to my life and I laughed at her.  I was living in a lot of purple then.  Not the royal, elegant purple but the deep, eggplant-y, reddish kind.  The purple that feels bottomless.  The purple that would be black if it didn’t seem so trite.

The suggestion made me feel embarrassed and small.  As if it were as simple as adding more color – as if blue skies or greener pastures or painting the town red would change something.  I felt like next I’d be looking at Rorschach blobs and telling her what shapes I saw.  And nothing really goes with purple anyway.

I’ve thought about that comment a thousand times since.  I’ve never been very good at feeling things, even when I’ve wanted to, so any attempt to appreciate sunshine or the smell of rainstorms or the song of a lonely bird in the morning has invariably ended in a feeling of foolishness.  I have a problem in which I think everything is cheesy.  Even when I’m by myself.  And even when it’s not.

But lately I’ve been thinking about being awake.  And about the way we are wired to feel and to react and to hope and to waiver.  And I’ve realized that in the moments in which I feel most alive – the moments that feel pure and real and unadulterated, that my lungs fill with air that feels healing and fresh, and that my eyes fill with tears that feel sparkly and full – I am wholly and recklessly awake in the presence of the Lord.

And that is a terrifying thing.

In the abyss of purple it is easy to daze and to doze and to dizzy.  The sleeping subconscious holds fast to lies and groundless hopes and mindless relationships.  I have wrapped myself in those things.  Immersed my heart in those waters.   My soul has lingered and emptied in that purple haze and I have slept right through it.

But by a grace that I do not understand I have been awakened.  Awakened to truth that strips the heart of its idolatrous hopes and mindless desires.  Awakened to purpose that puts to death slothful wandering and selfish wondering.  Awakened to glory that dilutes the accomplishments and victories of the kingdom on the sand.

It’s a brutal, feverish awakening.  It feels cheesy and reckless and painful.  It feels harsh and raw and relentless.

But it is the most color I’ve ever seen.

I am thankful that freedom comes from surrender and loss.  I am thankful that truth steadies.  I am thankful that mercy sustains.

“For anything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore it says ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'”  Ephesians 5:14

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