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The awakening Print
Guest column
Thursday, Jul. 16, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Morgan Smith

I am thinking now of my friend's face. It is lit up with a mix of joy and surprise.

The other day, he was talking about his brother, whom he had seen the weekend before. His brother is in a program for recovering addicts which after years, he had finally wanted to enter. My friend was struck by his conversation with his changing brother. And so was I.

A new view of life

My friend said of his brother: "He shared in a way I’ve never witnessed him share before, about some changes in himself. He's forming a new view on life; in particular he has an openness to being surprised, to novelty. He now takes his walks differently, open to beauty, and treats his interactions with people differently, wanting to learn about them and hear their story."

Even looking at my friend's face as he told me the story, I could see his brother's newly awakened face. Awakened from a fog of confusion and a pit of self­indulgence, this man can see beauty for the first time. Like a child, he is full of wonder and curiosity. Eyes truly open!

I wonder how many of us see the world in this way? See our life? See the others we encounter every day?

Where does this openness and wonder come from? Here is a man -- ­­we can define him in many ways -- ­­a drunk, an addict, a troublemaker, a liar, a screwup, etc. A man of mistakes and a man of many wounds.

What was he before and what is he now­­ -- w​ho is he? ​This man has been awakened from his own hell, and now he sees. This man is all of us.

The gift to be awakened

The gift to be awakened lies in us all. Especially those of us who think we don’t need it. We need it like air!

Our dignity as persons is this potential to be awakened. To be awakened to (and by) the love Christ has for us ​now​. He is here now -- ­­asking us to reawaken, to open ourselves to His embrace.

To label someone a drunk or a screwup is valid; ­­people behave in these ways. But, to truly see them as such -- ­­to reduce their whole existence to these words -- is naive at best. We need to be able to see them as Christ sees them. In fact, we are called to see the awakened version of them even before they do!

How are you defining the person next to you? The person on the street that you pass by? Your sister that you haven’t spoken to in years? How do you define yourself?

Reflect upon this call: Let us redefine ourselves and others as the person who is waiting to be awakened. All love and dignity lies in this.

Morgan Smith is the Natural Family Planning coordinator in the Diocese of Madison.