We hear a lot these days about being “woke,” which a trendy online dictionary defines as “the act of being very pretentious about how much you care about a social issue.” Now, class, let’s use “woke” in a sentence: “Most people don’t care about how climate change is affecting musk oxen in Greenland because they’re just not woke like me.”
I don’t really give a flying flip about being woke. I do, however, want to be aware and compassionate ... and awake, which isn’t the same thing at all as being woke. As my husband will confirm and I’ll explain to you, awake Mary Ann is safer and saner than sleeping Mary Ann.
Joe has witnessed some pretty bizarre behaviors in the wee hours as he’s attempted to sleep peacefully beside me for these 43 years. One night, for example, I was dreaming about him nearing the edge of a cliff and it was up to me to save him. I was awakened by Joe’s real-life struggle to escape the headlock I had him in. He was not appreciative of my heroic efforts.
Another night, I apparently was dreaming about burping a baby and was awakened by Joe’s laughter as I was gently patting his back and trying to coax a burp out of him.
On yet another occasion, Joe woke up because he was being tossed to and fro by big waves rolling through the ’80s waterbed we had. He opened his eyes to find me standing up, “surfing” on the bed, completely asleep. As unsettling as that was, it was also most impressive, if I do say so myself.
One time I woke up at the foot of that same waterbed as I was ripping the double-thick sheet in two because I was dreaming our baby son was trapped down there. I tried to replicate that amazing feat of strength the next day, while awake, just to see if I could, but I found it impossible.
Before you send me the name of a good therapist, let me explain that all these bizarre episodes occurred when my sons were babies and I was perpetually exhausted. Sleep deprivation can do strange things to people.
It could have been worse, though. I could’ve been eating in my sleep, as a friend of mine frequently did. When they got up in the mornings, he and his wife often discovered half-eaten muffins and other evidence of his unconscious nocturnal feasting. Snarfing up calories you don’t even remember enjoying? That’s so sad.
Yes, sleeping can be a bit hazardous for some of us. But falling asleep spiritually is much worse and we’re all in danger of succumbing to it.
Jesus said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42).” He obviously didn’t mean we should refuse to let our bodies sleep. He was talking about staying spiritually alert.
The Apostle Paul later wrote to the Ephesian church, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
We live in confusing times. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Deception abounds. Being “woke” won’t keep us from getting lost in the darkness, but if we’re spiritually awake — if we know, treasure and obey God’s word and His will — He will lead us through it.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” – John 8:12