Consider the tangle of emotions affecting Jesus' disciples after his crucifixion and burial: grief, sadness, disappointment, lethargy, ennui, depression, doubt, anxiety, fear. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke's gospel (chapter 24) give voice to it as they are met by a stranger: "We had but hoped that he was the One ...." Even when some women report the amazing good news to the others, "they did not believe them", is the report we find in more than one of the gospel records. And yet ... in their encounters with the Risen Jesus, all that changes. Souls become listless, troubled, and deadened are reawakened. Dispirited disciples become emboldened, uplifted ambassadors of resurrection hope, promise, and possibility that offers transforming powers beyond our wildest human imaginings. Souls sunk in some deep, dark basement of despair and inertia are elevated up to higher heights of action and witness. Setting the mystery, wonder, miracle of the "life after death" impact of resurrection aside; resurrection is also about rebirth, spiritual renewal, restoration, and newness of life now. For those first disciples that happened in the encounter with Jesus, crucified and risen. Through such encounters their iron-deficiency anemia of faith and hope was overcome, replaced by fresh energy, vision, and sense of purpose.
Sometimes our souls sag too, our spirits grow listless, or just ... tired. What might we do to bring them back to life? Here are some nudges that might help:
i) jot down some notes, ideas, or draw some pictures of what being spiritually awake would look like, feel like for you;
ii) just as breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what about setting aside ten or fifteen minutes early in your day for a "breakfast for the soul" time - count your blessings, read some devotional literature and ponder, offer prayers, wait upon God;
iii) think about people who have inspired you, whom you believe have rich souls. Make a list of qualities you notice in them and consider which ones you would like to cultivate;
iv) go to bed early, if it isn't already your habit and get up in time to watch a sunrise. Then, brew a good cup of tea or coffee or cocoa to savour slowly, enjoy some quiet time for your soul as you watch the world change colour, catch to movements of the wind outdoors, or the stirrings of birds, or the shape and colour of flowers, listen to the sounds of everyone around you waking - the wild creatures outside and the little critters still upstairs or down the hall or making footfalls next door.
Just as Mary Magdalene recognized the Risen Jesus when he called her by name; or Thomas dropped to his knees in deep new belief when he got to see Jesus; or those two travelers on the Emmaus road woke up and "knew him in the breaking of bread", open your soul to enlivening, fresh encounters with Christ.