Through the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often take for granted those things that always seem to be there. A day doesn’t pass by without us thinking that what was yesterday will forever be today and tomorrow. Yet as fleeting as life is, it should come as no surprise that life is a never-ending spiral of forewarning, some more brooding than others. And yet the anatomy of a wake-up call never ceases to amaze.
They can appear at all times. In the tumult of tremendous activity or in the relaxing sun of a warm Sunday afternoon, they make no reverence for when they materialize. One might even surmise that they joyously flail their undiscovered consternation onto us. Whence they can watch us squirm in our newly found shock and dismay. Sadistic and voyeuristic these wake-up calls are!
If “death is the final wake-up call” as American clergyman Douglas Horton (1891-1968) concisely put it, then should we be taken aback by those going before? Isn’t existence fundamentally an unending flow of change and surprise? Are we not deceiving ourselves into complacency to think otherwise?
It would appear that we humans are susceptible to delusion, that is, believing in something or someone that isn’t what we expect it or them to be. We want to believe, oh how we want to believe! But in the midst of enrapture is the thorn of forewarning embedded. “Wake-up, wake-up,” it screams! But we can’t! Our minds, and with it our logic (see When Logic Goes Into Hiding…), are thrown to the wind as we guileful trick ourselves into deceit. We wonder why the shock when the impending inevitably happens. How meek of a creature can we be?
Does this mean that the trepidation of a wake-up call can be avoided? Are we able to forego the apprehension by expecting the unexpected? Perhaps the root lies within our expectations. Maybe it’s there we discover the genesis of life’s jolts and disappointments. For without expectations, can disillusion ever overtake us? If so, it’s a sad state of reality to go through life not believing in something or someone.
Even German writer and poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) noted that “Disappointments are to the soul, what a thunderstorm is to air.” He recognized the unfathomable power of a wake-up call and what it does to wreak havoc on the human soul. We are human and being human renders us vulnerable to those things and people that may compromise our beliefs, whether stated or not. It’s natural to mourn the loss of a trust. It’s unnatural to believe that it will never happen.
Perhaps then the anatomy of a wake-up call is nothing more than a reminder, a reminder that we exist and that we are alive. And can there ever be anything better than that?
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