I just got up from a restful night’s sleep. It’s still dark outside, and the air is foul with the smoke from nearby forest fires. I will not be able to open the windows to catch the morning chill — and it’s going to get hot today — a high of 99, the forecast says.
Consciousness brings with it the weight of responsibility. I need to prepare for worship and for upcoming classes. I must complete writing assignments and ready myself for appointments with directees. The house badly needs to be straightened and cleaned. Meals need to be planned.
With consciousness also comes an awareness of the threads that connect me to my family and my communities. A friend who is going through a rough time needs my support. I must remember to call my mother. A responsibility I acquired several years ago is going to necessitate me having a conversation with church leaders. And then there’s the other friend whose birthday was yesterday and the third one who called me several days ago.
Awake, I remember the state the world is in. The forest fires and hurricanes that are the result of climate change, the global pandemic, and the divisiveness and bitter projections we all so easily fall prey to these days all come crashing back into my awareness.
It’s almost enough to send me back to bed.
“You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep,” Paul says in today’s passage from the epistle to the Romans. Does he mean this climb from the pleasant oblivion of sleep into the knowledge of obligation and danger?
Rather there’s a spiritual wakefulness that anchors us to a deeper belonging. Having awakened I need to wake up again, from ordinary consciousness into an awareness of my union with God. At this next level I feel the peace that passes understanding. I am not any less passionate nor any less aware of my obligations. But I realize that in duty and anguish I am doing what I was born to do, learning what I was created to learn. God breathes the tainted air with me and helps me feel the greatest connection, the one that runs from God’s self through every single one of us.
The night is far gone, the day is near, Paul says. By this he means that Christ consciousness is very close. When we hear the words of salvation with the ear of our hearts we come right to the brink of a new understanding and a new relationship with all that is. The incarnate God meets us everywhere, in every breath we take, every contact we make.
The most important thing I will do today, the most meaningful and the most long lasting, will be simply to open the fist I have made with my ego consciousness and let go of whatever I am holding. All the other responsibilities I have will then fall into place. I will be awake in Christ’s peace.
Image: Alan Cleaver / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0); Wikimedia Commons
Laurie Gudim is a spiritual director, a writer, and a religious iconographer living in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and her sister. For more about her, visit everydaymysteries.com.