One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I can fall asleep just about anywhere. I regularly sleep when I’m on a plane. I fall asleep during lectures. (Who hasn’t, right?!) I recently caught myself snoozing while reading at a Starbucks—something that isn’t easy to do while sipping a cup of joe. And, though I love church and hearing the Bible taught, I’ve been known to nod off during a sermon once or twice. (Sorry, Pastor Dave!)
Since I’ve become aware of this tendency, I’ve been able to adjust and avoid falling asleep when I should be awake. Nobody wants to sleep through life!
Sadly, I have found that people are doing that very thing in our society. Due to the demands of life and, to an extent, due to ubiquitous access to information and technology, many people are asleep to the things they want most and, indeed, life itself.
How does that happen? We get wrapped up in good things. A new opportunity. The side-hustle that will bring new income. Work to secure a new client. As a result, life becomes busier. Then, when we rest, we look to what’s easiest and closest: social media, a game on our cell phone, a binge-able TV show or alcohol. Over time, the hamster wheel starts to spin, and, after we are finished sprinting, we find ourselves lonely, exhausted, and disoriented. We lose track of our deepest yearnings and forget what is most important to us.
How do we get off of the hamster wheel?
How do we wake up to what we really want? The answers really aren’t complicated; they just required that we pause and create space so that what lies within us can rise to the surface. So, perhaps, we take a day away from technology. We spend a weekend in the outdoors. We journal for an hour. Or we take a walk with a friend or family member. The possibilities really are endless!
Activities like this make all the difference in the world. We’ve seen enough of life to know that is finite. So, we can’t afford to fall asleep to what we really want. We have to have an answer the vital question posed so eloquently by poet Mary Oliver,
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Because it is one thing to fall asleep on a plane or while reading a book, but it’s another to fall asleep to life.