Icy streets have local public schools on a two-hour delay this morning.
No one in my house was upset about that as we went to bed. Six months in we’re still not happy about how early middle school starts, and so a weekday morning to sleep in, even just an hour, is a gift.
Unfortunately, Skye-dog did not get the memo. And so, at 6am, was nosing at my bedroom door as per usual on a weekday (somehow she acknowledges the weekends, thank goodness!) begging for breakfast. I may have muttered a curse word or two her direction under my breath as I crawled out of warm blankets, stumbled to the kitchen, filled her doggie bowl and pushed “brew” on the coffee maker.
Long story short, I found myself at my desk, checking calendar, making notes for the week, and clicking “send” on emails before the sun rose. And that meant, an hour or so later, I leaned back in my chair, post email-composing and, lucky, lucky me, caught sunrise outside my window.
With barely a conscious thought, I sang in my head, “Morning has broken, like the first morning…” and almost unbidden came ancient words from my faith, “This is the day that the Lord has made….” I smiled, and breath felt easier, as if my heart had temporarily found a more peaceful and steady rhythm.
Peaceful and steady rhythms are not, I think, easy for any of us to come by these days. Our collective anxiety–in our families, our communities, and certainly our nation, is sky high. The demands on our calendars, our check books and our performance levels–whether domestic or professional–is often more than is sustainable, the rat race we’ve created for ourselves unlike anything before, and entirely self-defeating. And I don’t know that there is one identifiable culprit in all this, rather, a host of things–though I’m going to go ahead and put social media and the ways we let it define personal and communal conversation in the top five (another blog for another day).
The facts are that we have brought ourselves to this land of high anxiety, and resisting its affects on our lives both personal and corporate takes conscious effort.
Most of all, it takes, I think, a firm commitment to the truth that what we DO is not the best way to measure ourselves…rather, who we are ARE. You can complete all the lists you want my friends, excel at the highest level, line your bank account and your office walls with the results of your efforts. And you know–well done if you do. But I am much more interested in how we live our lives; how we love those nearest us; how we pay attention to the things that matter most.
Look, I get it. Deadlines do often matter. And so does producing results in the workplace. And we have responsibilities that have to be met and people we are accountable to–all that.
But damn if any of it matters if you lose the ability to catch your breath at a particularly promising sunrise…if you forget to say “I love you,” on the way out the door…if you put measuring up above simply being…YOU.
For me, this all boils down to the practice of presence–to simply showing up. For our lives. For our loved ones. For every day, no matter what. Showing up. Being present. Making it know that you are here, and that your people matter to you, and that life is too short to not be thankful and present for every single second of it.
This is on my mind this morning because I temporarily forgot it all last night. I got caught up in “organizing for the week ahead,” after a long weekend. And I mean, sure, I guess that has to be done to an extent–but in my case it meant failing to listen to the ones closest to me because I was so caught up in “doing,”… “managing.”
This never makes me my best self.
Sunrise this morning jiggled a little balance into my busy soul. Reminded me that in the end, all will be well, and that I am not the sum total of what I can produce–and neither is anyone around me. Watching morning come into being reminded me of the very thing I promise my sweet Curly Girl every day–that we are not alone. And that the best thing we can do for one another is offer presence for the journey. Not advice. Not to-do lists. Not a new app that will do it all just right or a new planner that will make all our hopes and dreams come true….
No to all that.
And then just offering the presence of your heart to someone else’s. This is everything.
And so today, that sunrise having brought me to my senses, I’ll try again. Because morning’s promise is that a new day really does bring a new possibility. New hope. New space for showing up. For dwelling in the promise that we were made in love, created to love, and that choosing to live as such will always lead us home.