Friday, January 17, 2014

Today is all you'll ever have...

Is it possible for one small change in thinking or behavior to change your entire outlook or experience of life?  "Why yes, yes, it is!" I would answer, for I have seen it with my own eyes--or rather, heard it with my own ears--over the past month or so.

You see, I am a morning person.  I am not necessarily a "morning person" in the traditional sense of the word.  In fact, I used to be quite efficient and productive in the evening hours, those precious few hours when little ones are in bed and you can get stuff done without them under foot!  However, sometime over the past decade, I have turned into a morning person.  Those "little ones" grew up, so the evening hours are no longer the time that they are asleep in their beds.  Perhaps even more significantly, though, I hit middle age--that blessed time when, apparently, women begin to wake up at ridiculous times in the wee morning hours as a result of some mean hormonal trick that hits a few years before menopause does.  (Nobody tells you this, mind you.  You don't find out that this happens to everyone until you start to mention it to your other middle-aged friends.  Then they look at you like, "What? You didn't know that?!")

At any rate, when I awaken nightly--sometime between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 AM--sometimes I am able to go back to sleep and sometimes I am not.  Most mornings, I stagger to the bathroom for the cruel-hormonal-nature-trick need-to-pee that has awakened me, then climb back into bed and drift back off to sleep.  But some mornings, my mind wakes up as my body does, and I can't control the racing thoughts that fill my mind and demand that my day begin RIGHT NOW.

As you can see, on these mornings, I can have been awake with any number of things (doing the day's devotional reading, praying for the day's requests and needs, practicing my Scripture memory verses, reading a book, grading papers, answering emails, catching up on Words with Friends games, trolling Facebook, looking over the calendar, etc. etc. etc.) for several hours by the time my husband rolls over and begins to drowse awake just before his alarm rings at 5:00 AM.  For years now, I have had the terrible habit, apparently, of hitting him with whatever urgent thought is occupying my mind, as soon as his alarm goes off for the day.  He is greeted, thanks to me, by urgency and panic-inducing tones regarding some serious thing I've been pondering and planning for hours.  Not fun!

Sometime this past month, some small little miracle began to take place--and not because I purposed it or planned it in any way!  In fact, I didn't really discover it was happening until it was happening, and I just happily realized it one morning.  Some odd morning about a month ago, I greeted my snoozy husband with a sing-songy, "This is the day that the Lord has made!"  And he answered with, "Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"  Sleepy smiles were exchanged, and his day began peacefully.

The next time I was already awake when his alarm went off, I again greeted him with, "This is the day that the Lord has made!" and he again responded with, "Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"  Somehow, we had started something, though neither of us realized it at the time.  A few mornings later, he was up before I was--I having gone back to sleep after the wee-hours wakeful time and slept through his 5:00 AM alarm-- and he greeted me with a big grin and a, "This is the day that the Lord has made!"  I returned the smile and answered, "Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

This delightful little exchange has become our habit each morning as we greet each other, without either of us ever deciding it or acknowledging it or talking about it, even.  The closest we came to that was one morning when I said something else--something urgent and startling, I'm sure--as the first words I greeted him with.  He rolled over with a fake cry and said, "You didn't say it!  You said something else first!"  And with that, I realized that I had broken an unspoken understanding that had developed between us... namely, before anything else, acknowledge together that today is a gift from the Lord, and that we should rejoice in gratitude first thing upon greeting it... and each other.

What a beautiful reality!  What a beautiful habit.
"This is the day that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice, and be glad in it!(Psalm 118:24)

* Entry 1, January - The 12 Months of 2014 Blog Challenge - title is from Switchfoot's This Is Your Life

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