If you’ve ever been through a deep loss, you know there’s a period of time that you move through life almost asleep.
“Numb” might be the best word to describe it.
Maybe it was a death, a divorce, or you were fired from your job. A multitude of events can happen that thrust you into this almost coma-like state.
Your eyes open in the morning, but you just lay there in bed. Your mind is foggy and kind of blurry, and you’re just staring up at the sky. You just want to go back to sleep and pretend this isn’t your reality. You want your reality to be a dream, and your dreams to be your reality.
For the first time in your life, you discover that it’s actually possible to navigate through an entire day half-asleep. You make the two eggs with avocado that you make every morning, only to discover later in the day that you put the eggs up in the cabinet instead of the fridge, where they belong. You have a long conversation with your kids, where it looks like you’re paying attention but in reality you’re only catching every fourth or fifth word that they actually speak. You look down at your phone to see your voicemails stacking up—the little red dot shows 16 messages you haven’t had the energy to even listen to.
And it’s not just your routine and relationships that are impacted. Even your passions are impacted. You hear a story about a devastating flood in India, a place your heart once pounded for, and despite the hundreds that have been killed, you casually change the channel, not really feeling anything.
You are half-asleep.
And honestly, that’s the only way you can cope right now. To be fully awake is just too painful. It’s almost like a coping mechanism your mind retreats to, so your mental circuits don’t just blow. How long will it last? It’s different for everyone. Maybe weeks? Maybe months? It could even be years for some.
But you’ll wake up soon enough. And the “waking up” can be painful or beautiful, and often it is a little bit of both. Waking up includes seeing more light, but it also includes having to survey the collateral damage from the events that put you half-asleep in the first place. Waking up includes taking ownership (if there’s any to take—and their almost always is aside from things out of your cnotrol) to all the ways you contributed to the implosion.
You’re waking up to the reality that some relationships are lost forever. Some things will never be the same again. But you’re also waking up to more than just what you’ve lost. You’re waking up to discover those who are still there. Those who walked in this darkness with you. The ones who were with you when you had nothing else to offer and they stayed anyways.
You’re waking up, once again, to some things you no longer believe, but also some deep convictions that you believe in more than ever before. You’re waking up to once again feel pain, beauty, love, and anger. Yes, you’ll also wake up to people whispering about your life—but the real struggle will be the voices within. Those are the ones that you need to fight with every ounce of undeserved grace.
This awakening will scare you at first. In fact, you’ll try to shut your eyes and go back to being half-asleep. But the light will be too bright to allow you to do that.