For some time now I have felt tired.
Bottom of the barrel tired.
Counting down the days until vacation and a chance to rest.
And feel like me, again.
So, here I am.
With those days I had been waiting for now in front of me.
Yes, there are projects to do and books on my list to read.
But, maybe more than anything else, what I need is unwind enough so I can sit still and be quiet and to allow the day I have to unfold as it will.
There is nothing new about what I am about to write.
Nothing that those who are smarter than me or wiser than me have not known and been saying for years. Nothing new even for me.
Just forgotten in the push and pull of life.
Here is what I mean.
I am usually the first one up in our home.
Even the dog watches to make sure I am getting up before she uncurls and gets up as well. I usually have an hour or so to myself before my wife gets up. I let the dog out. Make coffee. Have breakfast. Read the paper. Check email. Pretty routine. Maybe for you, as well. But yesterday was a bit different. And because it was I began to remember what I had forgotten.
Here’s what happened.
Everything went along as usual until I went to let the dog in.
It was one of those beautiful mornings.
Warm enough to be outside.
Cool enough not to be hot.
One of those days in the Northeast you want to bottle for the middle of summer or the middle of winter. Instead of calling the dog, I took my cup of coffee and sat down. For ten minutes I just sat.
Not shaking my head about the headlines in the paper.
Not figuring out which early morning emails to keep and which to delete.
Not checking my list for the day.
Today is back to normal.
At one point a couple hours ago I realized I had a headache.
Here is what I think may be true.
How we start our day sets the tone for our day.
Rushed. Our day will be that way.
Stressed by emails or news. Our day will be that way.
A few minutes of quiet.
A few minutes to appreciate the sunshine.
Or, the rain.
Or, the cup of coffee in my hand.
Maybe we will appreciate the moments in the rest of our day as well.
I am going to give it a try.
My day began as most of my days begin.
Second cup of coffee.
But then, instead of email or news or my list for the day, I went for a walk.
30 minutes outside.
Surrounded only by….
Trees creaking in the wind.
A woodpecker heard, but not seen.
Quiet enough for me to be aware of my own breathing.
Silence settling around my soul.
I realized I pray better walking than I do folding my hands and bowing my head.
Maybe I should begin every day like this.
I didn’t use to be a morning person, but now I relish these few minutes of quiet before the world around me catches up and plunges into the activities of the day. For a few minutes there is nothing I have to think about. Nothing I have to do. I can just sit and be still and watch as the sun pushes back the shadows the early morning. I can just sit and listen…both to the world around me and the quietness of my own heart and mind. In these few moments my prayers wander pausing on those whom I love and those for whom I have special concern. Then they return to wrap themselves around my own life seeking to both settle and unsettle me at the very same time.
I remember the council of a friend who was always quick to remind me.
“Today is a day that was not promised to you, but a day so full of promise.”
Today, may I live into that promise.
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the metal roof.
Rather than feeling disappointed the sound of the rain stilled the other voices and noises around me clamouring for my attention. For the moment, at least, I am content to sit in the comfortable chair with my eyes closed and the dog on my lap and sink into the quiet and the sound of the rain.
I am fortunate.
For the last two days I have been able to step out of my normal routine and be quiet. Yes, I talked with our neighbor while our dogs played in the field. And, yes I thanked the cashiers at the stores when I went to run errands. But, for the most part I have been quiet. I read a book. I walked in the woods. I ran alongside a mountain stream. I sat and looked out the window…just looking not really thinking about anything in particular.
I don’t know about others or what most people need, but I need time like this.
Time when I get to know myself again.