Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Why Are You Sleeping?
By Micky Wolf
The disciples must have been jolted with a rude awakening when Jesus asked that no holds barred question of them as the evening unfolded in the Garden of Gethsemane. He then proceeds to tell them to get up and go pray, that they may not undergo the test. (Luke 22:46 NAB)
There are a hundred plus examples in Scripture of Jesus asking questions—of the rich, the poor, the infirmed, the healthy, the young and the old. Why are you sleeping? Has to be one of the toughest. It is a question capable of penetrating the deepest nooks and crannies of our comfortable lives. It is one is capable of stirring us out of complacency. Or not.
While you and I might not have been part of that gathering in the literal sense, I wonder how many times we find ourselves dozing off when it would be better to be alert and awake. Or ambling through life physically “awake”, but too often oblivious to the world around us?
And therein lies the challenge—are you and I among the walking asleep? And what does that mean, in practical terms?
Let us consider and ponder…
Looking at the person ringing up our purchases, yet being so sleepy we fail to see their drooping shoulders, the weariness in their face. We miss the opportunity to offer a word of encouragement.
Hearing the frustration in the voice of a spouse or friend, yet in being half-awake, failing to listen without interruption to their unspoken plea for a caring presence. We miss the opportunity to give them the gift of acceptance and compassion.
Noticing the long lines of people standing outside the food pantry giveaway, yet being so concerned with getting to our next appointment we fail to see them as our neighbor, as members of our extended community. We miss the opportunity to make a contribution of time or talent to help alleviate their hunger.
Passing by the hospital, the center for the aging or terminally ill, yet being so centered on self and personal comfort we fail to acknowledge the loneliness and emptiness that mark the life of so many of those out of sight, out of mind. We miss the opportunity to share a few moments of conversation that may bring welcome light to the darkness.
Why are you sleeping?
Getting up from our slumber—physical, emotional, or spiritual—requires action on our part. Action that is preceded by a desire to be willing to be alert, present in the world in this moment.
Going to pray, that we many not undergo the test of our love and faithfulness to our one true God, will likely not be the first thing we want to do.
On the other hand, what if in our choosing to doze or sleep, we fail to see with the eyes of our heart that it is our reluctance and resistance to opening ourselves to others and their suffering that we are really avoiding?
Sleeping is a temporary fix.
May we choose, this day, to get up and go about the business of being fully awake, loving and serving others.
How do I feel when I encounter a Jesus-question like this one?
Do I find myself dozing when staying awake would be the better choice?