Saturday, September 25, 2010

Morning Prayer

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with morning. I love the way the sky looks as the new day’s first light appears. I love the smell of the dew-laden ground. I love to hear the revelries of the early rising songbirds. I love the moment when the earth bids good-bye to last night’s setting moon and good morning to today’s rising sun.

I hate the fact that morning comes so early!

Our alarm goes off at 5am. That is the official alarm clock, the one that plugs into the wall and knows what the exact time is at any moment. It knows exactly when we need to be waked up and it wakes us up – no earlier than expected and no later. We also have four other alarm clocks, with four feet each and that are not nearly as reliable. Though we attempt to set these “alarm clocks” not to go off before our desired rising time, many nights something causes them to summon us to wake up at unpredictable times. No matter how many times we attempt to push their snooze button, they continue to sound. On the mornings when they have sounded all night, I REALLY don’t like the morning. When the buzzer on the real and reliable alarm sounds, it often takes a round or two of hitting the snooze button before we can begin to face the day. It should be noted here that usually by this time, the four-legged alarm clocks have settled in “for the night.”

We are usually out of bed by 5:20. The dogs and cats have been fished from beneath the covers and the bed is made. By six, we are showered and dressed, the first cups of coffee have been made, and the four-legged alarm clocks have been fed. Last year, at this point in our morning routine, Weber and I would have had thirty minutes to sit down together, eat breakfast and even skim the headlines of the morning paper. Things have changed this school year.

Traffic in our area is terrible - even at 6:30 in the morning! In the past, we left the house at 6:30 to make the forty five mile commute to school with the goal of both of us being at school by 8:00. Last year that worked. This year is doesn’t. In the first week of school, Weber was late twice. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were going to have to adjust our morning schedule somehow.

Please God, don’t make me have to get up any earlier!

My prayer was answered. We decided that we would get up at the same time, but would leave the house at 6 rather than 6:30.

Please God, don’t make me skip breakfast! It is my favorite meal. And, I am really grumpy if I don’t eat breakfast.

This prayer too was answered. Now we leave at 6am every morning with computers, book bags, lunch boxes, another bag with breakfast, and coffee cups in our clenched hands. Neither of us likes to eat in the car so we wait until we get to my school to actually eat; this is by 7:00 most mornings. There is no line for the microwave in the teacher’s lounge at this time so we prepare our breakfast and have thirty to forty minutes to sit calmly and enjoy each other’s company. Lately we have been eating outside under the trees – and under the squirrels who toss nuts from the trees. Most mornings we are on “our” bench before the sun officially rises. This is a beautiful way to start the day.

There is less traffic on the road with us when we leave at 6:00 making for a less stressful morning commute. So, we have started listening to Daily Morning Prayer via a free podcast. This Office of the Episcopal Church is read by the Reverend Dr. Chip Lee, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Maryland. This has become a meaningful way to begin our day as well as spend our commuting time. It also provides us the context for a few pertinent prayers o our own.

Dear God, please help all those on the road to drive patiently and safely.

Each day, the Morning Office begins with the words.
“Lord, open our lips and our mouths shall proclaim your praise.”

Offering these words with sincerity and truth is the perfect prayer to begin each new day.

There are still days when I wish that morning came a little later, but for the most part I am settling in happily to our new morning routine.