This morning is the first time in a very long time that I'm up before the sun.
I used to do this often; I was a cook at a Catholic camp, and during the school year we had rental groups who, for a reason known only to the Almighty, decided they wanted breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. Seems reasonable, I know, but it also meant that I had to be present by 6:15 or so to begin preparing their meal. Did I mention we live 30 minutes from said camp? I'd leave home at 5:45 to make it there in good time. Also meaning I was up by about 5:15. And all of these times being in the morning, for Pete's sake. Really not my thing. At all.
I am not a morning person. I've never been a morning person. In high school, I would fly out of bed at 7:45 to be sitting in my first class at 8:15.
My usual pattern is to get as much done before I collapse in bed at night as I can...and then I read. It's not that I'm not tired when I get to bed; usually I'm exhausted. Need I remind you, I have four children and am terribly busy cooperating with the Almighty to produce the next. I'm tired alright, it's just that usually my mind is wound up and I end up staring into near-darkness (blasted streetlight) thinking about things I can't possibly affect at that particular hour, and then I can't fall asleep. So I read until my eyes begin to close, and I find myself reading the same sentence fourteen times in a row, and never really comprehending what I just read. Then I know it's time to close the book and turn out the light.
This getting up business, in case you're wondering, is not at all my own notion. I lay the responsibility for this one squarely at the feet of my dear friend, confessor and spiritual director, Fr. E.
I went to see Fr. E. on Friday. When I called him the week before Holy Week, I was rather down, and really just needed to process recent events. (In February we experienced a miscarriage.) Of course, Holy Week is a great time to get together with your priest! Well, at Mass anyway. But if spiritiual direction is what you're in need of, his time may not be as free as you'd like it to be. So circumstances being what they are with household schedules and all that, I finally got to get some direction on Friday.
Which brings me to this morning.
"Fr. E.," I said, "my days are not flowing as they need to. The structure is not there. I don't feel at peace." The usual Mom talk, I know. So we talked about the morning. No, I don't get up early. I'm spending time in prayer throughout my day, but hadn't really been praying the Morning Offering as I should. Or ever. Nor had I been laying eyes that were not sleep-filmed on my amazing husband before he left the house to provide for his family's needs. And this at the ridiculous hour of 7:30!
Yes, I know. Sloth is one of the deadlies (and the one I confess most often). But I had convinced myself that since I was getting so much done at night, this was all perfectly acceptable. We homeschool, so there is no need to get the kids up at 6-ish. And quite honestly, until it's garage sale season (so close!) I never feel the need to get up early. Perhaps if we lived on a farm.....but I digress.
"But," Fr. E. said, "that needs to change. If you want your days with your children to go well, you need to begin your day by offering everything to God, not just throughout your day, but most importantly, in the morning. And think how happy your husband will be to see you in the morning." Yes, yes. Things I know in my head, and even in my heart. But try to tell it to my eyes. They do not like this waning daylight business.
No sympathy. None. "Because," he said, "I am not a morning person either, and I get up at 5."
And the kicker: I am to confess the occasions that I do not follow through with this new habit. Yep. He'll get to hear about yesterday. I didn't get up until 7:20 yesterday. And today. Because while it's closer to the goal, I wasn't up until 6:40 today. I guess it's not as bad as all that, afterall. We'll see.
My goal now is to get up, pray, drink some liquid sanity, update my blog, check e-mail, and then (this one hurts!) shut down the computer. It sits in the living room, singing it's siren song to me all day....and I answer the call far too frequently. I'll be back in the evenings, hopefully.
Maybe time in the morning is really what I need. I can already see the benefits. If I have the afore-mentioned liquid sanity well before the children come downstairs, I likely won't be the fire-breathing dragon that they dread so, because I'll have more time to become human before I see their lovely faces (and they are lovely....).
So do help keep me accountable. Please encourage frequent confession. Heaven knows, I need it.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. I didn't know about it until about a year and a half ago, when I heard the Chaplet being prayed on EWTN. I'm no expert on feast days of the church, but this one is pretty awesome. If you want to know more about it, check out http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/index.htm .
See you in the morning.