Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Awake and asleep.

Awake and asleep.

I read an article in last month’s Men’s Journal about some coal miners that died in a tragic accident. While trapped miles under the earth, with their oxygen running out and death coming quickly, the men decided to write some notes to the people they loved.

One note said:

“It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep.”

That is a gift,

if you are dying.

That is the only thing you can give your family and the people that love you. That was a kindness, a man letting his family know that he did not suffer. I was overwhelmed by the selflessness of that action. With only a few short breaths left, that man did not focus on the pain he was in, but instead used his last energy to do everything he could to ease the pain of the people he loved.

But if you are alive,

if you still have years ahead of you, if you are still above ground, breathing and living, that note is note a gift.

It is a curse.

It is a note that I wrote to describe my own life for many, many years.

“It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep.”

Things weren’t horrible, I just went to sleep. I stopped caring about anyone but me. I stopped giving and focused on taking. I let go of risk and settled into a nice, safe, comfortable life.

“It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep.”

I am tired of living that way. Tired of writing that note. Tired of being those words.

I don’t know if you’re like me and it’s easy for you to fall asleep. Easy to focus on the wrong things. Easy to miss the love and the life and the joy God keeps whispering in the corners of your day.

Wake up.

Wake up.

Wake up.

That is my prayer for 2009. That I would not sleep. That I would not live a life that is really not all that alive. That I would remember Revelation 16:15, “blessed is he who stays awake.”

What kind of note will you write this year?


sarah said...

This really struck a chord with me... I needed this. Thanks.

Sue said...

I have been following your blog since your last post this past summer. I was SO GLAD to see you had posted again.

Yes, I agree with Sarah. This is a great perspective for us to all have...especially at the beginning of a new year.

thanks for posting!

Tori said...

Thank you.

katdish said...

Dude - that was awesome. I struggle with this daily.

It's so easy to slip into the comfort of humor and sarcasm -- it's what I know; I've been doing it for years and I will unabashedly say that I am very good at it. Lately, I've been writing more fluff than substance. Mostly because it's easier to skim the surface than to dive in deep. So my note for 2009 will read, "Are you going to continue to hide behind the stand-up act or will you come clean and show your scars, and possibly create a safe haven for others to do the same?"

My other note will say: "You really need to work on the run-on sentences." (Hey, I am what I am.)

joshua said...



- josh

Annie said...

Great post. Thanks!

sharilyn said...

a very good reminder for me. thanks for your words of exhortation and encouragement to live life as God has actually called us to... more abundantly. i'll now go work on my own note... hope i can keep it relatively brief! (actually, i think it will be along the lines of "be grateful!"..so key!)

Brad Ruggles said...

Dude, that's a great analogy. Reminds me of the quote by Leonard Sweet that I made a wallpaper of a couple of months ago:

"What's the difference between a living thing and a dead thing? In the medical world the clinical definition of death is a body that does not change. CHANGE IS LIFE. STAGNATION IS DEATH. If you don't change, you die. It's that simple. It's that scary." - Leonard Sweet

Alicia (Uh-lee-see-uh) said...

I used to be asleep too. I think being awake is so important to ourselves as well as the people around us. Thanks for the post.

heartafire said...

Just beautiful...

I had not noticed that verse in Revelation before, but will remember it.

Another that speaks to me, along those same lines, is the promise that "He neither slumbers nor sleeps..." (I think from Psalms?)
This has comforted me many times in the middle of the night, when everyone in my house is asleep and I am laying in bed worrying/praying. The God of the universe is right there hearing me, because He neither slumbers nor sleeps.

Richard said...

There is a song called Wavorly, called Sleeper. I think you'd like it.

"Sleeper, no deeper.
Lift your eyes awake from dreaming.
Sleeper, arise
and you will find life."

It is amazing what God does through us when we are awake.

Nick the Geek said...

I'm not much into resolutions, but I think if I made one this would be a good one to make.

I wonder how you can accomplish this kind of change. Not many people actually wake up on their own form this kind of deep slumber. There might be an event that is a kind of alarm, but reality generally leads to hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep after a bit.

I think about some of the guys I know that had a hard time getting up in the morning. Someone had to literally come in and make them get up.

I wonder if this is how it looks spiritually too. We need someone to come in and make us wake up. Since parents tend to be the ones to kick kids out of bed, I think we need our Father to help us wake-up.

Just a though.

Word Verification: bonom

Short hand French "bon nom" which means "good name." Like Prodigal Jon is a good name describing a powerful idea.

Anonymous said...

My Note Will Say:

"I lived FOR Jesus even when I didn't see Him. Now that I see Him, I get to live WITH Jesus."

You took my heart Jon and wrote it out in a blog.


Rob said...

I find myself asking God to thrill me. I'm waiting for an answer.

Zach said...

Reminds me of the Andrew Peterson song "All Things New":
'Rise up all you sleepers, awake
The light of the dawn is upon you
Rise up all you sleepers, awake
He makes all things new!'

platypusphil said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!

Thanks Jon .

Paul said...

II know you enjoy finding spiritual meaning in secular media. I ran across a similar sentiment last night while watching High Fidelity. John Cusack says that he never committed to anything because he always wanted to keep his options open. Then one day he woke up and realized that he was killing himself incrementally. It was so subtle from day to day as to be almost imperceptible. That's how I sleep, by keeping the world at arms length.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for the post, its just what I needed to read.

jamie {rose cottage} said...

Love this. I've been trying to stay awake; thanks for the encouragement. Wonderful post.

Courtney said...

Jon- have you read the book "Windows of The Soul" by Ken Gire?

WV: kardholo (n.): a type of wall decoration composed primarily of Christmas cards received from friends and family, although postcards and (occasionally) credit card offers have been known to sneak in.

"Dear Aunt Susan, thank you for your beautiful Christmas card. We were able to add it to our kardholo, which this year takes up the entire east wall of our living room! Your loving niece, Lizzy."

Raeburst said...

beautifully spoken.

thanks :)

Destiny said...

This reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Switchfoot, More Than Fine...
"When I wake in the morning
I want to blow into pieces
I want more than just ok"

So glad to see you posting on here again :)


Matthew W said...

Being nacroleptic, that's my prayer, too... that I would not be asleep.

I'm not joking, either. I'm serious. My prayer is that when I should be awake, I actually am awake. Not wasting time away taking a nap. Not oversleeping (through classes, even). Awake. And doing the will of the Christ.

Tami said...

Found this post by accident, or was it? Great post. Needed it. Big Time.

Max02 said...

I know exactly what you mean. It's been so long since I've thought of accepting God's love as waking up from a dream and actually living for Him. It makes me think of the Gateway Worship song, Wake Up the World.

Side Note: I'm pretty sure you meant Revelation 16:15. It took me a while to find it.

Praise and Coffee said...