Presenting the work of Quaker atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others who practice Quakerism without supernatural beliefs

Waking up Dead

I don’t recall the first time I woke up dead, having done so many times since. Each time feels like the first time, so maybe it’s an ongoing thing — waking up dead.

There are days when I wake up fully alive, and those are the cruelest of all. Those are the days when I feel purposeful, animated by a higher power, full of answers, and in no fear of any future. Those are the days my religious friends tell me they live for, when they are in the grip of faith and all is well with the world.

Those are the days of high promise — and swift disappointment when the spell breaks and the true nature of things floods in. When I go to sleep those nights I know in the morning I will wake up dead:

Dead to God. Dead to destiny. Dead to a moral universe. Dead to illusion. Dead to life after death.

My deflated soul will desperately seek the breath of any good promise, and such promises abound to the desperate. And on those days I’ll go for the cure in the hope of waking up fully alive.

Old fool.


3 responses to “Waking up Dead”

  1. “April is the cruelest month….”

  2. I drag myself outdoors within minutes of awakening. Every morning I do this. Then I walk for an hour. I start feeling alive about halfway through. I become very conscious of and delighted by the fluid rolling of my joints, hips, knees, ankles elbows, shoulders. I become more conscious of the world around me. I am alive.

  3. I think Peter’s text is beautifully written. I appreciate the honesty and authenticity.

    A few days ago, I had a dream that I couldn’t wake up. In my dream, I cried out repeatedly to my parents, “Why can’t I wake up?!”

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