I am writing this at 5:45am, having been up for an hour already. Technically, I've been awake for closer to two hours, but I only actually got out of bed an hour ago, when I heard the pitter-patter of little feet heading downstairs. My 4-year-old daughter is definitely a morning person. She routinely wakes up (and gets up) before the sun, happily chirping "Good morning!" to anyone and anything she sees as she skips through the house. She goes from sound asleep to wide awake and cheerful in about 2.5 seconds.
I, on the other hand, need closer to 2.5 hours. I am, one could say, a slow starter. I prefer to ease my way into the day, beginning by lying in my bed contemplating my own existence and thinking about the day ahead. Eventually I get around to sitting up and grabbing my Kindle, reading or playing games for a bit while I mentally prepare myself for human interaction. (Some would call this antisocial behavior; I call it a homicide prevention technique.) Finally, I'm ready to face - well, not the day, exactly, but at least the coffee maker. Once I've managed to bumble my way into the kitchen and through the coffeemaking process, THEN I'm ready to talk to people without fantasizing about their slow, painful deaths.
But every once in a while, when I am forced by circumstances out of my control (to wit: my 4-year-old) to be out of bed and moving around before sunrise, I try to make the most of it. Since neither of the other residents of my house are particularly morning people, either, I generally don't need to interact with anyone. (The 4-year-old doesn't count; she'll cheerfully hold a conversation with herself for hours, no need for me to talk to her.) Which means that I can sit quietly with my mug of coffee and simply contemplate the world around me.
This morning, I took the opportunity to watch the first glimmer of sunrise in the eastern sky.
The inky blackness of the sky above was pierced by two bright stars (planets? I'm not awake enough yet to consult a star chart, but the foggy recesses of my brain remind me that Venus is the morning star, so probably that, yeah), and the glow of the sun just past the horizon was beginning to highlight silhouettes of trees and houses.
As I continued to watch, the blue along the horizon began to spread higher adding the tiniest hints of pink and gold, dimming the glow of the bright stars and changing the blackness around me into the half-familiar shapes of my porch railing and the neighbor's fence.
That glimpse of pink and gold spurred me on to stay awake and watch for the rarely-seen (for me, anyway) glory of an autumn sunrise. I called my daughter outside to watch it with me, but after a few "Ooohs!" and "Aaaaahs!" she lost interest and pulled out of my arms to go back in the warm house and play with her dolls. I clutched my still-warm coffee mug instead, appreciating the contrast between my bare feet on the cold flagstones and my hands on the warm mug.
As I waited patiently (well, kind of patiently) for the sky to brighten, I became aware of the unusual quietness of the neighborhood, broken only by the whoosh of the occasional passing car. No chattering voices, no angry car horns, not even a barking dog or a bird calling to its mate. Not even the morning insect sounds of late summer.
I was able to let go of my own thoughts that had been frantically planning out the day ahead, and just enjoy the peace and serenity of being alone, with God's beautiful sky above me, His silent earth around me. Even as the world was waking and coming to life around me, ready to begin a new day, my soul was waking and coming to life.
I am ready for the new day!
But I think I'll have another cup of coffee first, just in case.