My days begin around 5 o’clock in the morning. The sun has not yet risen. I rise in the dark and in the quiet of the house. I rise to make lunches for the kids, lunch for myself, breakfast for myself while reciting John O’Donohue’s A Morning Offering:I bless the night that nourished my heart/To set the ghosts of longing free/Into the flow and figure of dream/That went to harvest from the dark/Bread for the hunger no one sees. Stephen makes his way downstairs around 6 o’clock, making breakfast for himself and the kids. We do our morning dance around the kitchen, back and forth as we get food cooked and prepared. By 7:30am, I am off down the mountain to work as the sun begins to rise. Orange and pink fills the morning sky.
Tonight as I drove home from work, I listened again to the SuperSoul conversations with Joan Chittister. In the midst of darkness, how do we hold light for one another? I make attempts at that daily with all the patients I see at the clinic for therapy. And in my own family and friends? I could do better. When I turned 40 in October, I had this awakening that seems perhaps obvious, but usually isn’t until we bring it to our consciousness. I realized I had the choice to choose what media or content passed across my eyes. I didn’t have to take everything in and feel crummy afterward. I didn’t have to watch a scary movie and feel frightened. I didn’t have to read news stories that were ugly and disheartening. I could filter what brought more light, beauty, laughter, and joy into my being. It’s not that I’m not aware of what is happening in the world. Reading the headlines is often enough to fill me in, or perhaps an article sent from a friend that I can trust is worth reading and being moved. But the daily bombardment of ugly, selfishness, and greed? I’ll pass on that.
As we move towards greater darkness, we hold on to the hope of the coming of light. Nature points us in the direction of more understanding if we wake up and look. There are beautiful, inspiring things happening in this world. There are people who are living their life as prayer. May you and I be one of them. And in the words of John O’Donahue, May I have the courage today/To live the life that I would love, To postpone my dream no longer/But do at last what I came here for/And waste my heart on fear no more.