I’m Waking Up, I Feel It In My Bones*

17 Oct

In this book I read once, there was a man whose spirit positively glowed. People asked him, “Are you God?” “Are you an angel?” The man just shook his head, quietly stating, “No. I’m simply awake.”

We wake up every morning. But to be awake is something altogether different.

This weekend, at our retreat to upstate New York, I was reminded that God likes to dance in paradox. In the midst of a rejuvenating weekend full of low-key relaxation, I was reminded of the thrill of waking up.

This lesson began Thursday on the way to Syracuse, when, unexpectedly, Kelly (the Director of our program) made a sharp turn and got off the exit to visit Niagara Falls. The trip was a blip in the length of the drive—an extra 30 minutes both ways. But the memory of spontaneously running to greet the slapping waters of the Falls was unforgettable, especially for the pals who hadn’t been there before. Kelly didn’t have to do much, just drive a little farther than planned, and be willing to arrive at our final destination a little later. She jarred us from our slumbers, literally and metaphorically speaking, reminding us that if our eyes are open we can jump off the map. All we have to be is awake.

Skip ahead to late Friday night. As we were slowly dozing off by the fire at our retreat site, Kelly ran in the room to tell us Rachel (a Pitt Pal) had arrived from the airport and we were all welcome to go pick her up. Rachel had been home for her grandfather’s funeral, but she was back and awaiting our pickup at the airport. Despite nearly being asleep, we jumped up at the ready and ran to the van. It was a late night adventure. At the airport, we realized we were waiting at the wrong terminal, so we literally ran across the building to arrive at the correct spot. When we made it to Rachel’s gate, we sat down at the base of the escalator and waited patiently to catch a glimpse of our pal. Sitting there, I opened my eyes, and I began to notice that all of the flyers arriving in Syracuse looked miserable. I couldn’t blame them—flights had been delayed, it was after midnight, and we were in an airport. There wasn’t much to be excited about.


Kim and I waiting patiently at the base of the escalator for Rachel to arrive. 

So I decided to help them wake up. 

Before my pals realized what I was up to, I started clapping inthe groggy flyers, welcoming them to Syracuse and congratulating them for making it safely there. I must have looked absurd, standing there clapping in my pajamas and bandana, but I received more than a few grateful smiles in appreciation.

Sunday morning, the last day of the retreat, I decided to get up before the sun. I’m not a morning person, so a sunrise is an event, and holds a dear place in my heart. If I’m up with the sun, I mean business. So, in the quiet of our 15 person sleep room, I laced up my shoes, and boldly stepped out into the wee morning light. I made my way into the winding meadow in front of our quarters, traipsing through the brush as I watched night turn into day. I walked for awhile, passing several frolicking deer, eventually making my way to a bench overlooking miles of turning trees. Then, I did the only thing I felt was right: I hopped onto the bench, threw my hands up into the air, and I danced in gratitude for all that is.

The day was breaking, and I was not only up, but I was awake.  


*from Radioactive by Imagine Dragons 



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