Monday, April 16, 2012

WAKING UP – As If For the First Time

(This is the third post in my series of reflections, As If For the First Time, describing the most mundane of daily activities through a fresh lens, one of innocence and wonder.)

PHOTO: Mike Hulsebus
My friends look up in wonder as I glide over the fountain-like crowns of elms. Their admiration is almost palpable. Just for the fun of it I dip lower so I can slalom among the huge, spreading branches.

I have no idea why I can fly, but I'm exultant. The soft, late-summer air sweeps my hair back. Ah-h-h-h...

Wait, what's that? Another sound interrupts the whispers of air brushing past my ears. I slow down. Instead of falling, I kind of dissolve back into the air and ground, settling gently into a dark, quiet place. But still that sound…My God, it's shrill, insistent!

My eyes crack open just far enough to make out the blurred red digits: 7:30. I reach over and shut off the alarm. Damn, the air's cold! I snatch my arm back under the covers and reach over to my wife's side of the bed, forgetting that she's already been up for two hours.

There's a certain kind of stretch...that seems to 
send relief to every fiber of my being.
I'm a pretty active sleeper; it seems like I change positions every few minutes all night, finding no more than momentary relief from the pain—the generalized kind often attributed to some forms of arthritis.

I'm used to it. But there's a certain kind of stretch, one of those luxuriant, full-body stretches one reserves for waking up, that seems to send relief to every fiber of my being. I don't want it to end. These mornings, when I have no pressing deadlines, the bliss of being pain free keeps pulling me back into the arms of Morpheus.

Why, I wonder, can't I get this to happen all night?

Thank you, God, for another precious day, a blank slate I can write on in any way I wish.

Now, my body wants to sink deep into the mattress, but my mind is waking up. I say a prayer. Thank you, God, for another precious day, a blank slate I can write on in any way I wish. I just pray it will be something worth reading.

With this thought I see myself and my situation as one sometimes does when looking in on someone else's life, romanticizing it, coveting the freedom and clarity of purpose one imagines they must be enjoying.

This radiant outlook is a rare and fleeting one for me; once I get up, I know other concerns will begin to blur it. But at least I've caught a glimpse, once again, of what it looks like. I suspect that's more than many people are getting this morning.

I use my elbow to lever my torso up, swing my legs out and sit there, trying to hang onto that blessed feeling. Something deep inside me tells me it's a clue to the secret of happiness...if not the ultimate meaning of life.

With that lofty thought, I shuffle to the bathroom.


Davina Haisell said...

I love the flavour of your writing, Jeffrey. Very much. There's such a powerful combination of surrender and determination, and compassion for yourself. A good measure of reflection... healthy reflection that does not give way to being stuck, or that romances you with lofty dramatic scenarios.

I've had mornings where getting out of bed is a nasty struggle. And then there are days when it's effortless... for no reason at all! Makes me wonder what holds me back on those other days... ME!

Very nice post.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Dear Davina - Any praise on my writing is gratifying, but from you—such an accomplished editor—it really feels good. Thank you!
I'm sure I make many errors, but being balanced and genuine as you suggest is more important.
It's always great to see you here; I hope you'll come back now and then.
And here's to more of those buoyant wake-ups!

Lucy said...

Hi Jeff --

Luv this; I have had dreams in which I take off flying without being able to control when or where -- pretty fun stuff!
My latest post on my is a further reflection on our pantheism discussion; about how Springtime makes nature lovers of us all! This is how it starts: "The crocuses are sending their tender petals skyward, and the bunnies are jumping around, busy mouths stuffed with tiny bouquets of grass bound for nest building."
I hope you will read and comment!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey Lucy -- Thanks for sharing your dream-flying experience...though I'm not sure I'd enjoy it half as much if I couldn't control where I was going ;-)

I did read your pantheism post and chose not to comment at the time. I guess I just didn't want to get into a long debate about something that's ultimately so personal. Hope you understand.

spldbch said...

Clarity of purpose -- I think people underestimate how important it is to have a sense of purpose in life. It provides the REASON for getting out of bed and facing another day.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Right you are, spldbch, but easier said than done, at least for me. My problem is not a lack of things I'm excited to do, but that there are just too many. Prioritizing, then, is where I have to listen to my heart...right?
BTW, I think I just figured out your abbreviated name. Really? You don't sound like one. ;-)

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