After getting ten hours of sleep, I spent a few hours this morning reading Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux. The temperature hovered around a balmy seventy degrees, and a light, fresh breeze brushed my skin like feathers.
I would stop reading for a moment to watch the sunflowers and crepe myrtle sway or rediscover the phenomenon of a sky so clean and blue that it seemed to throb. A block away, a lawnmower droned, and traffic on I-40 across Broadway sounded like the ocean, breakers hissing on the sand.
I’ve made an effort in recent weeks to notice more of the mundane, the deluge of ordinary, tactile details and impulses that flood our lives from second to second.
I recently watched Joe Versus the Volcano, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, for the first time, and Patricia, one of Ryan’s characters, says something that struck a chord: “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”
I want to live “in a state of constant total amazement.” My friend Daniel Allen differentiates between trying and training. Anyone can try to run a marathon, but only those people who have trained have a chance at finishing.
So, I’m in training for a more profound sense of awe and wonder each day.
Words from a famous theologian keep popping into my head; they provide a mantra for this training: “Awake, O sleeper.” Earlier in that verse in Ephesians 5, Paul writes, “Light…makes everything visible.” In the “Coda” at the end of Despereaux, DiCamillo repeats what Gregory the jailer told Despereaux: “‘Stories are light.” I agree, and when I combined the two, I came up with this: I am a sleeper, I desire to wake, and to accomplish this, I must continue telling stories.
My regular readers may have noticed some changes. The “wordpress” is now missing from the URL, “http://whatsleftout.com,” but don’t worry because you don’t have to change your habits. The old URL will automatically redirect. I also changed the template and paid my friend Dan Frye, a talented designer, to create a new header that better reflects gu.e’s purpose and its themes—more on that later.
I plan to re-launch g.ue (pronounced “goo”) sometime in September, and in the meantime, my hope is that my stories have brought some light to your life and that they will continue to do so. May you feel emboldened to tell your own stories, to bring those dark, musty dungeons of embarrassment, shame, fear, and despair to the light. Telling our stories helps to set us free from them and gives other people liberty to do the same. Go and bring light and shine.