Wake Up Dead

As I get older I find it harder to leap out of bed in the morning, full of the joys of spring. Or summer. Or autumn or winter for that matter. Especially winter. It’s cold and dark. And invariably wet. Why on earth would anyone throw back the duvet to embrace that? All I want to do is remain under the covers and hope that the world doesn’t notice my absence for the next 24 hours or so. I’m sure you could all cope.

Unfortunately I am expected to get up and do adult stuff. Like go to work. Communicate with other equally grumpy grown ups. Smile when I don’t particularly feel like smiling. There is so much to do. Kids to shout at, bills to pay. Elves to put on shelves or place in other equally ‘hilarious’ scenarios. Yes life is a veritable hoot I’m sure you will all agree.

Sooooooo. I crawl out of bed. Take a slug of Diet Coke. Wash. Shave (most days). Dress (every day). Eat toast. Get train to work. Arrive at work. Take many more slugs of Diet Coke. And so on and so forth. I commute to and from work on a train full of miserable looking people all trying their hardest not to look at each other. Noses stuck to their phones, glaring at the screens.

The other day I found myself on the train sitting beside two young woman who were facing each other across a table. One of them was reading a Bible and frenetically taking notes. She had a glint in her eye and was totally immersed in her studies. I had to admire her passion and energy. You don’t see many young people openly reading a Bible these days. Or anyone for that matter.

The other woman was lying slumped across the table with her head resting on her arms. She was out for the count. All I could make out was a mess of long hair. She must have had a heavy night I thought to myself. One (or ten) too many beverages I suspected. I was at my judgemental best and frowned at her. If only she could have been like the diligent, devoted girl sitting opposite her. Tut! Tut!

The train pulled in and passengers began to disembark. ‘Diligent Girl’ (for that’s what I had christened her) closed her Bible and began to pack away her notes. ‘Drunk Girl’ (boo hiss!) arose from her stupor and groggily looked around, uncertain as to her whereabouts. Belfast? Baltimore? Beirut? Who knew. She yawned and began to sleepily gather up her belongings.

It was then that the two girls started to talk. They obviously knew one another. Then I noticed that they were both wearing name badges indicating that they were members of a church organisation. Whatever your thoughts on their beliefs here were two young women who were about to venture out onto the mean streets of Belfast to do what they thought was the right thing to do. Sharing the love of God with others.

Yet I had already trialled and convicted one of them as being a useless waste of space. I felt guilty and shuffled off the train and onto the platform with the hundreds of other commuters. My fellow runners in this rat race we call life. All shuffling along, heads down and eyes fixed firmly on the ground. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

We are the Walking Dead. We wake up dead. We go about our daily routines dead. We go to sleep dead.

Those two young woman had a purpose, a passion, a mission. For all I knew ‘Drunk Girl’ could have been exhausted because she was up all night praying for someone in need or helping a broken person find their way through the night. Or maybe not. Whatever her tiredness it was not for me to judge her. If only I had an ounce of her faith and conviction. If only we all did what a better place the world would be to live in.

Why do we get out of bed in the morning? Beyond the mundane, dreary necessities of life why do we do it? Are you driven and passionate? Are you pursuing your dream, the reason you were placed on this planet? Or are you just aimlessly drifting along from one day to the next with no real goals or ambitions?

We are nearing a New Year and with it come the traditional resolutions that rarely last a week. Why wait that long? Why not start today. I’ve spent most of my life in zombie mode, going through the motions. From one self inflicted disaster to the next. Trying to fill the gaping hole in my soul with trifling distractions. I’ve achieved a lot. I have Fionnuala and the kids. But there is so much more to do, so much more to achieve. And the clock is ticking.

I cannot waste a second. I need to push on. Forwards. Alway forwards. I might not leap out of bed but I get up now with vision and focus. It makes it all worthwhile.

I wake up tired. But alive.

Do you wake up dead every morning? Are you shuffling through your day like a zombie?

Or have you a plan? A target? A dream worth getting up for?

46 thoughts on “Wake Up Dead

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  1. I used to wake up dead, but this new journey that God has placed me on has forced me to feel every minute of everyday. At first it hurt, very much…but I began to see the beauty in simple things; sunsets, kids laughing, bumblebees, etc. Once you see that kind of beauty, you wake up feeling alive and present. I used to be the person on the train on the way to work looking down at my phone. Now Im so grateful that Im not waking up dead. This is a great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can definitely relate. I feel like I am constantly doing the same routine. I do love what I’m doing for a living though, so the hope of moving up in my career is an excitement for me. However, I don’t think about that as often as I should to get me through the days. Instead, I find myself just constantly moving and truly not enjoying the beauty of just living.

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  3. I wake up dead every morning but its the fibromyalgia that causes that. Usually it takes me some time to get fully functioning in the morning because of my chronic illness.
    But I loved this post! And I loved that first comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found meaning in helping others. Everyone keeps asking for the meaning of life. It is quite simple – you are a conduit through which the divine energy entrusted to you (your soul, in layman’s terms) reaches out and touches the people you come in contact with. Help others find a reason to smile, to feel happiness, to experience a day like no other because of your contribution to their life. Helping others comes in many forms, and I guarantee you that if you would have told “drunk girl” that you admire her commitment, her passion, her faith, you would have made her Holiday Season that much brighter. It is hard for me to place a smile on my face most days, life has been an uphill battle lately, but I still find a way to make others smile. And that’s a start. Wish everyone else happiness, and you will become happier for it.

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    1. I agree with you. I cannot tell you how validated I feel as a human being when someone smiles back at me. For me a smile to others demonstrates that I see their humanity and I am acknowledging that they have value and worth. So, when someone says hello or smiles back at me, it makes my day, and it can take a depressed moment and turn it into a joyous moment. I want to do the same for someone else. Thank you for reminding me that my smile is not in vain!

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  5. I wake each morning knowing the inner fight that i am to have with n myself for the whole day. Questions burn in my head. Have i put on weight overnight? Will i eat to much today? What safe foods can i eat and at what time? This goes along with the usual crap in my brain like……… How many calories can i burn can i keep moving enough to burn said calories. I then have the other side of my brain working to make itself heard. You need to feed yourself! You need to have enough energy to get through this day. I would love nothing more than to be detached from my head for a whole day just so that i can log off from the negative monologue that invades me. I have dreams and ambitions that i want to fulfil. I cannot complete these while i run on virtually empty. I know deep deep down it will eventually come to a head and i will be in trouble. But at the moment i cannot stop myself. Sorry went slightly off the track there………. Another article well constructed and written. Talented talented guy……

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    1. It saddens me to read your post, but it demonstrates that we often pass people and do not know their struggles. I am praying for peace, comfort, and joyful moments for you. Also, let me say that it takes effort to decide to not allow the bad thoughts to hinder us. When I feel down and sad, I sing a song that you may be too young to remember. I sing loud and strong, with determination, but with bad singing, ” I’m going to pick myself uo and get back in the race. That’s life.” Look it up. It’s old but it will do wonders to get your foot moving and your heart energized. May God bless and keep you always.

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  6. Have to be at work by seven, so it’s up at four most weekday mornings to head for the workout room with my lovely wife while we listen to the bible on CD. Way better than when I used to wake up dead for the reasons you suspect. Christmas eve, it will have been four years since I woke up dead.

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  7. Maybe if you start to wean yourself off of the Diet Coke, you’ll start to feel better. It’s really bad for you. Certain allergies have driven me to eat better these last several years. Funny, but now I have much more energy than I had when I was young. You could do it too. It is so worth it. Feeling more alive for God is worth it.

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  8. Ouch. I love stories like these because one, it makes me remember that I am human and others do make mistakes (judging) and two, finding purpose in the story, learning a lesson and applying change. Thank you for sharing it! I have learned more so recently to love life’s moments (even the tough or nasty ones) and embrace the time we have, meaning wake up every day with purpose! I am in a place right now that requires sacrifice of sleep. I try to make it up when I can but I have to remind myself that it is temporary and I just keep looking at the positive until then. It’s not always easy for sure. Thank you for the encouragement!
    You write so well!

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  9. I find myself on a rollercoaster. At times driven by passion and hunger, and other times I just want to sleep. God awakens our passion’s but it’s up to us to keep the fire burning, and that can be difficult when the day-to-day grind tends to drain you with “mundane” tasks. But that is where we learn most of our lessons. Life can’t always be at the top or the bottom, we live in the in-between. And God has something He want’s to teach us and grow in us there, if we let Him. Thanks for the post!

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  10. Scripture tells us to make the most of each day (Chuck’s paraphrase for redeeming the time). Sadly, a brief look back at my track record shows far too much of the precious gift of Today has been frittered away on the trivial. Thank you Stephen for this timely (and timeless) reminder to use the gift of this day for the Lord’s glory.
    Chuck

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  11. I’ve been guilty of prejudgement. We try to figure out people’s stories before we even read their book. Thank you for sharing!

    It’s cold here too, I relate to not wanting to deal with the cold.

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  12. This is so unbelievably accurate! It reminds me of something one of my professors said about marriage and life in general; ‘at some point, the honeymoon wears off then the rest is like stirring oatmeal.’ 🙂 My dream right now includes finishing school and maybe finding a job that will get me out of the usual 9 to 5 beat but my dearest dream that gets me up in the morning to keep fighting for those things is the hope of a home of my own.

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  13. For me, it’s my faith that gets me out of bed. Knowing that the Lord loves me and that I CAN revel in each moment, even when I’m so sleepy I am just zombified all day. I honestly think winter was meant to make us appreciate the spring and summer months! Personally, being tired isn’t the worst thing for me right now. It just makes it harder to get things done (not impossible). I’ve discovered coffee helps, but also getting a good night sleep, taking my necessary meds (for depression), using essential oils (diffuser), and excercise really help. Today was not my best day, really. I napped! But hey we’re human. I really hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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  14. It’s numbing, and it’s a comforting sort of coping mechanism. In the book I may never finish, I referred to my actions as Intentional Sleep Limbo: intentionally being perpetually tired enough to not have anxiety about the mundane.
    Our counselor had a good ten minute explanation about screens, shows, ads, etc. -about the compulsive, flashing, upgrading dinging of apps and devices and how that is making the world dull. We cannot find joy and beauty in regular world compared to the company-designed flashiness of electronic stimuli.
    I don’t know if you distance yourself at all this way, but it was eye-opening to us.

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  15. I have found that in the three years since I developed PTSD (and only have become aware of in the past 4 months since I’ve started treatment) I became the sleepy girl, but before I was the one furiously studying. I used to have so many ambitions and would stride proudly into the world, whilst now I’m a shell of a human who is running on autopilot. I feel like that’s the worst thing about PTSD – it took away my passion, my excitement for life and my dreams for the future were all dampened. I have been the tired girl for three years and I don’t really know how to wake up or find the passion of the studious girl.

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