Is It Worth Getting Out of Bed?
I hear little Henry stirring in his crib. We are babysitting our 1½-year-old grandson for the weekend.
He is awake now.
I walk into his room and smile. He stands up. I tell Henry I am glad he is awake, that he can get out of the crib now and play.
But instead of letting me lift him out of the crib, he sits back down. He keeps looking past my shoulder.
I know what’s happening. He’s waiting for Gramps to get him out of bed instead of me.
I’m not (too) offended. I’m certain Henry love me, too, but I’ve seen the special connection he has with Jeff, his Gramps. They toss balls inside the house, play with toy trucks, and make loud animal sounds together.
So Henry is fine with staying in bed a few extra minutes if it means Gramps will show up soon to play.
Wakefulness Can Be Hard
Waking up and getting ready for the day isn’t always easy for us adults either. Sleep is sweet. We temporarily disconnect from our real-life problems. Waking up means facing reality again, which can be hard.
But wakefulness is where we’re meant to live.
I spent time on Zoom last Saturday with a group of Racial Equity Buddies. They are people committed to deconstructing racism in our country.
As we talked, I kept hearing this voice in my head: Stay awake.
It wasn’t because I felt lulled to sleep by the conversation. Quite the contrary. The dialogue was lively and engaging.
But as a middle-class white female, my temptation is to stay in my comfortable bed, dreaming sweet dreams, not wanting to wake up to the harsh realities that exist in our world.
Yet staying asleep isn’t an option if we’re called to love each other, to advocate on behalf of the poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised, and to support each other when we need help.
Waking up means taking off the blinders, seeing both the good and the bad. Awareness is necessary before change can happen.
What’s Your Alarm Clock?
After the Zoom meeting was over, I wondered about my internal alarm clock of values. What wakes me up? What keeps me awake? What can motivate me to care about fighting racial injustice and other disparities in our world?
For me, it’s other people. People are my alarm clock. They are my wakeup call.
- They are the wide variety of voices and experiences different from me that I hear in books and videos.
- They are the people similar to me except for skin tone as we catch up in person over a stack of pancakes.
- They are the ones who talk to me each week in the midst of lives trapped in poverty due to systemic hardships I have never faced.
- They are people already out there during the work day in and day out, allowing me to follow along behind them.
The divinity embedded in other people connect with the divinity embedded in me.
I need them all to help me stay awake. To look up and listen. Then to look in and seek change.
Staying asleep and remaining oblivious may feel comfortable during the night, but it’s not healthy during the day. As one of our group members stated on Saturday,
“Silence and complicity and complacency have no place here.”
The pull is strong on a daily basis for me to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my eyes, and turn on another episode of The Office. And I do those things at night when it’s time.
But when it is day, my task is to find ways to stay self-motivated to do the work. I want to remain awake to love the people God loves, to do the things God has for me to do, even though I do it poorly, one baby step at a time.
Awake Is Love
Henry sits in the crib a minute longer. He listens and watches me as I chat with him. He finally understands that Gramps isn’t coming this time, unconsciously knowing it’s more advantageous to let me get him out of bed than sit indefinitely until Gramps can.
He raises his arms to me, and I lift him up and out. His day has officially begun. We laugh and play and eat breakfast together.
This is being awake. It can be work. Sometimes it’s hard and I want nothing more than to go back to sleep.
Yet being awake is also good. Very good.
Awake is being aware. Awake is being alive. Awake is being love.
Do you wake up to an alarm clock? What’s your motivation to get up each day? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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