On Waking


I wonder if the power of the Scripture’s stories is not that they happened once upon a time, but that they happen. They have happened; they are happening; and they will happen. Like the story about Jesus taking the hand of the dead/sleeping girl and saying: “My child, get up!” Wake up. Wake up. Live right now. This is happening.


The western horizon gathers all of the day’s remaining color, suspending it in a breathtaking array of pink, orange, and red. I sit mesmerized as we travel across the flat Minnesota farmland offering a view of sky that I am not privileged to enjoy often.   While the sun settles beyond the western horizon every evening, this particular display is a once-in-a-lifetime event. This particular sunset will not happen again. And I get to witness it.


As the color disappears from the sky and the light disappears from my particular patch of the earth, the sky transforms into a window with a view spanning millions of miles and millions of years back. I find myself looking up at the same stars that captured Galileo, that guided travelers and sailors centuries before Jesus was born, that flickered brightly when the dinosaurs reigned. The stars show me my place in the scheme of things. Miniscule.   As Rumi said, “One brushstroke down”


The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. ~ Psalm 19:1-2.


No wonder my heart is drawn to the sky.


Reminders like these–the preciousness of a particular moment in time, the vastness of the world around me, the depth of history, and the moreness of the One who holds all these things together–call to my soul: Wake up! Wake up! Live right now.


Each day is a “precious gift, with an unspeakable mysterious value. . . . When it comes to time, the moment, the hour, and the day, one cannot replace one time period with another. Each day is unique and irreplaceable.”[1]

Sometimes I remember this, but most often I seem to get lost in the routine that becomes my way of daily life. I grow weary from lack of sleep, from trying to plan a meal that will please picky palates, from crunching on cereal spilled on the floor, from playing referee while my children bicker and harass one another, from the quick undoing of every chore I attempt to accomplish. Sometimes the cyclical sameness of my days lulls me into thinking that this is just how it is and that every day will be like today.


But last week, we removed the step-stools from the bathrooms. My baby no longer needs them. And after nine years, my closet is now emptied of its supply of baby gift-bags to recycle. I will need to buy new gift bags for the new babies I greet.


Today, my daughter’s four-year-old frame fits perfectly against mine as she snuggles in my lap. But for how long? Time marches. And we march along with it, whether we are aware of it or not.


May my finiteness always be before me, so every breath is one of thanks and grace and love–a call to my soul: Wake up! Wake up! Live right now.


And while it is easy to get lost in this circular nature of living, this repetition can also bring me to an awareness of holy: We get to repeat because we are alive. Each day has a gift for us and us for it. Eyes opened to the holiness of moments, I can find gifts in the act of washing my floor, or cleaning my closet, or in chopping vegetables for dinner.


Slicing into a beautiful, red tomato picked from my garden, my heart is drawn to the mystery of all the life-potential held in a small seed and the magic of dirt and sun and rain. These tomatoes are extra special. They remind me of who I come from. They grow from seeds I harvested from my Opa’s tomatoes, which grew from seeds he had been harvesting for longer than I have been alive. As the knife opens up the red tomato flesh and seeds spill onto my cutting board, I give thanks for my Opa who loved the dirt and tomatoes and making things grow.


Most often, when I stand at my stove making dinner, I am wondering why I have to make dinner Every Single Day for people who would be happier eating chicken patties from the freezer aisle. But when I remember that my mom also made dinner every single day and that this is what people have been doing since they discovered fire, I find my place again. We care for our loved ones; we feed them. It is holy work, feeding your loved ones. Making dinner becomes an offering of thanks-as I take my place and my turn feeding those I love. Making dinner becomes a holy call to my soul: Wake up! Wake up! Live right now.


Most mornings, I have a hard time waking up. My eyes open. I think about getting out of bed. And then I fall back to sleep for another 30 minutes or so. It takes a lot to drag my body out of bed. Sometimes, I feel like this is happening to my soul. It is catching glimpses of the Moreness that gives life and holds life together, and then it falls back to sleep. But it is waking.


My prayer for this year is: Open. There is so much that goes into that. But I pray that my eyes and mind and heart and hands would be open. Open to holy moments and the preciousness of days. Open to the call to wake up. Open to the call to Live right now.


~ Jessica


© J.L. Sanborn, 2015. All Rights Reserved.


Hi.  I’m Jessica and I am so thankful to take part in Janet’s blogging adventures.  I am the mother of 3 little-ish people and wife to a great guy.  I met Janet almost 2 years ago and am so thankful for that life-changing, life-giving encounter.  I used to do lawyer things, and now I get to play queen with my daughter when I’m not transporting my kids to school. I share some of my musings about faith and becoming at jlsanborn.wordpress.com. 


[1] Karl Rahner, The Mystical Way in Everday Life, p. 190.