Asleep

Proverbs 6: 9 & 10

I know you’ve memorized the bible so I won’t waste your time with quoting this passage. So I’ll jump right to the thoughts that I pondered after church on Sunday and again considered Tuesday night watching, of all things, NBA tv.

Picture me at home, fresh from work, having coached my son in his spreadsheet needs for a school assignment. I’m enjoying the pre-game talking heads prognosticate on the upcoming game and then

BOOM

it hits me. This is Black History Month. So what do I see crawling across the bottom of my screen but an “NBA cares, Black History Month” flash-notice thingy. I get excited thinking I’m about to see some little known black history fact specific to the survivor of the ABA-NBA war that ended (sort of) back in the 70’s. I’m thinking I’ll see someone that I never heard of who played or coached or was in the front office that is black or brown and has furthered the game.

But no; I see sporadically featured film shorts called Barrier Breakers. I liked the short, but that was about where the party ended.

Beyond that I see only the tired, repackaged and retreaded reference to (what is apparently) Dr. MLK Jr.’s only speech in his entire life. The I Have a Dream speech. The NBA then asks viewers to tweet how they Dream Big.

Whoopee.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I believe that his speech was a game changer. It inspired millions and frightened many racists and establishment standard bearers. But my issue is that Dr. King was more than a dreamer. Indeed he told us of a dream he had. But he NEVER expected any of us to remain asleep and dreaming. At some point we must wake up and do something.

How long will you slumber? The sermon goes.

Changing gears slightly.

There are so many isms that crush, instruct, direct and sometimes waylay us all. Individually and collectively.

Racism
Sexism
Absolutism
Ignorantism
Nihilism
Liberalism
Conservatism
Somnambulism

Pastor said to me this week that “…Somnambulism is perhaps the worst ism of them all. Why? Because it comes in so many different forms. Many of which are unrecognized. Standing at the podium. Talking to you, eyes wide shut. Singing a fine aria. But still asleep. Leading a nation. But asleep. Heading a union. But asleep. Raising a child. But asleep.”

Even the best ideals start being whittled away by somnambulism. Our earliest vocationally inspired dreams. Whittled away. What started as a profession now is just a job. Just a means to an end. That once great brass ring now becomes a virtual noose about the neck.

Somnific influences are things that induces sleep and can cause you to miss your blessing because you were asleep when it came. They could be drugs. That drug may be food, booze or even caffeine. Ralph Ellison says that there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers. I hope I am not asleep when my blessing comes and I pray I am not a sleepwalker.

The challenge I have is to be awake. To not slumber and if not immune, certainly resistant to Somnific influences that promise to direct me away from the pinnacle of my dreams and wishes. I hope that as much as the leaders I vote for, the teachers I trust my son with and the community activists that I support. I hope that they and I, one and all, stay awake.

To quote my brother in that great Spike Lee film

WAKE UP!

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