Make no mistake, this question isn’t merely hypothetical. How many of us ‘sleep’ through our lives, waiting for something better in the future?
The most self destructive sleep is one of the heart and mind. Yet it is the most common.
As you draw yourself into a self imposed slumber, especially in prison, you lose everything and gain nothing. You lose the appreciation for the things in life that you once took for granted. A true appreciation for food, affection, freedom, women and love. An appreciation that only absence can instill. An appreciation that will never fail you. Never leave you.
In your sleep you lose the chance to see that the human spirit, your spirit, can survive through anything. Not just survive but thrive. You miss out on the rare and special bonds made in a shared struggle.
The friendships of a lifetime. You miss out on the deepest laughs of your life, found in the freedom of gallows humor. You miss out on seeing with clarity, those rare gems in your life that love and support you in a time when they can have no self-serving motives to do so. You miss out on the chance to know who’s truly in your corner. To know who will be there when the chips are down.
You miss out on acquiring and honing self-reliance. You miss out on the chance to listen, to learn, to see what you’re made of. You miss out on the chance to rise from the ashes, indestructible and new.
You miss out on everything and you gain nothing.
It’s easy to fall back asleep in a place like this. To start living in an imagined future while life passes by you. You start to assume that life doesn’t happen behind fences this high, between walls this thick, and surrounded by razor wire this sharp. But you are wrong. Life doesn’t just happen in the brief moments of pleasure, ease, or comfort. On the contrary. Most of the shit that counts happens in between the moments of ease. The whole point of this beautifully terrifying rollercoaster ride called life, is the sudden drops and the stomach turning rolls. For those are the only things you talk about after the ride.
So don’t close your eyes. Don’t look away. And whatever you do, don’t go to sleep.