Choosing Morning

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

It’s about 8:30 AM when I decide that it’s morning. Decide, because the definition of morning that I’ve followed for most of my life–the time when I wake up and then need to start the day–doesn’t apply at the moment. The truth is, I wake up often, between three and… one thousand times during the night. Not all of those times are morning. And they’re certainly not all times to get up and begin the business of living in the world.

Upstairs, Timmy has been awake for hours, genially building a fire, making coffee and playing with Luci so I can sleep a bit more. I married a good man, I think, and then I look out the window, which looks like this:

Our bedroom window.

Our bedroom window.

No we haven’t moved into a basement. My parents’ house in the mountains, where we’re living this year, has two floors. Upstairs there are three small bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. Downstairs is Grandma’s apartment, and our large bedroom. Downstairs there’s also about seven feet of snow on the ground outside, so our windows are rather obscured, further blurring the lines between day and night. A bit of daylight that trickles down the sloping bank, but from where I sit there is nothing else to see. Just a wall of blue-grey snow.

I think sleepily of the verses I read sometime last night, verses from the Book of Common Prayer’s Daily Office. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits. These benefits, the psalmist goes on to list: forgiveness, healing, redemption, honor and youth-renewing goodness. I think about how easy it is to forget such blessings, especially ones like forgiveness and redemption, the latent goodness we enjoy as a result of Christ’s sacrifice. Wishing for a bit more sleep, I’m forgetting the weight of goodness that awaits me each new morning.

Timmy brings Luci in now to eat breakfast, so I draw this warm, cooing little person close to me. She looks up at me, eyes wide awake, questioning my sleepy ones, then cranes her neck toward the light, a good day-dweller already. …Who satisfies you with good. This, I think, is good. Good that more than satisfies.

The upstairs windows bring new meaning to the glib command to “Get some perspective.” I never understood it until now, when I climb the stairs and look out of the second-floor windows onto the world. From here there are dark-green trees dressed in white, sharp walls of snow lining the road, and austere, wintry forests all around. Light snow falls from light-grey sky, and it’s morning. Real, genuine morning, and I almost missed it.

The front window upstairs

The front window upstairs

Choosing morning–both the real and the metaphor–takes effort. It can be tempting to squeeze my eyes shut on challenges, blind to the places of beauty in the midst of struggle.

It’s just as tempting to stay in the igloo-room, trying for more sleep, extending the night. There’s a time for sleep, yes, but this isn’t it. Coming upstairs means getting dressed, giving up on the night. But here, looking out of a better window on a lovely day, holding my wide-eyed daughter, I realize that the morning is worth it. Upstairs is worth it. This is the day, reads another recent Daily Office selection, that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, and be glad in it!

And I rejoice in the noisy room, the coffee, the crisp mountain view and the family that awaits on this God-made day, sweet and new and waiting for me.

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