In which the writer finds that listening to the world wake up is better than to be awoken by the world.

September 28, 2017 3:52 am Published by 1 Comment


I am not a morning person.

Or rather, I don’t mind being awake in the wee small hours of the morning, as long as I am the only person there. I require at least 45 minutes of silent consciousness (MOSC) before morning interaction with the human race for my emotions and actions to fully follow through with that “love your neighbour as yourself” modus which God seems to think is so important. I live with two humans under the age of five, so obviously, that’s a piece of cake.

My father is one of those ridiculous people who manages to be in jovial spirits 99% of the time. When he isn’t, he usually has some lame reason like his blood sugar level is interfering with his ability to function as a human being (diabetics and their excuses, ugh). I can recall observing my father attempting conversation with me as a teenager before my requisite 45 MOSC had been accomplished and having this feeling of being a visitor to another planet, trying to translate the speech and actions of this strange alien creature…admiring their way of life but seeing it as far and away the world and life I inhabited…

But I digress… right, mornings.

When the world wakes me up, I am immediately hit with a sledgehammer with all the needs of the day. The things I need to accomplish. The people who need me to accomplish the things. The needs of people which will inhibit me from accomplishing the things that need accomplishing! As a mother, the last five-plus years of my life has been an almost daily morning barrage of need. Physical need, emotional need, imaginary need, you name it. The resulting combination of need, noise, and MOSC deprivation caused me to be less than adept at dealing with the issues at hand.  Well then, the solution is simple: the root cause of the trouble is MOSC deprivation. Therefore, make MOSC a priority. Add it to the list. Make it happen Nickijo! Try harder; do better.

So, with 45 MOSC added to the “things that need to be accomplished,” list, I made many creative attempts to accomplish this newly listed item. These attempts generally involved some variation on the theme, “wake up super early, be super quiet, get ready in the super dark checking off that list of needs before the great needers awake”! Sometimes this actually worked. Sometimes I was able to blissfully exercise, shower, pray, read my Bible, make breakfast and set all things in motion for an orderly, efficient, and productive day all before I was required to speak to anyone.

Most of the time, it didn’t work at all.

Children can smell productivity. They think it reeks.

The 45 MOSC I had added to my list, instead of becoming a source of strength and calm had simply become another thing on my list to whack me over the head as soon as I awoke due to my immediate fear that I would not be able to get it done.

A few weeks ago, I was rummaging through some old college papers and found this quote by C.S. Lewis I had felt compelled to write down:

 “That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”

I wrote this down ten years ago. God brought it back to me a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago, when all my striving, my attempts to control, my to-do lists, my organizational methods, and all my “trying harder” and attempts to “do better” had left me in the dust. I couldn’t tame these wild animals.

I was getting ready for bed. For me, getting ready for bed means getting ready for tomorrow. Rooms tidied up, lunches packed, setting my alarm for the next day. As I am checking for the third time to make sure my alarm radio will go off to Anonymous 4 singing Medieval French Motets and not ABBA singing Super Trooper (an entirely different awakening experience), my husband Michael simply says to me, “why don’t you just read your Bible in bed tomorrow morning, then maybe the kids won’t wake up so early?” This man of mine is brilliant.

So, I did. But here’s the thing, when you wake up with the intent to stay in bed, you are not in the least productive.  I woke up; I rolled over, I turned on the lamp, I spent time with the words of the one whose words have tamed raging storms, never mind a few wild animals of thought. I stayed there for over an hour, not checking one single thing off of my need to do list for the day and doing my best to try not to even think about them. I woke up in darkness and actually watched the sun begin to come up through my bedroom window. I watched the world wake up. After a while I could hear the traffic pick up on Fairview, people beginning to move out their front doors. I listened to the world wake up. I am usually so preoccupied with my preparations and agitations that I don’t notice the world waking up. I realized that I had been allowing the world to wake me up: allowing the wild animals to pounce. I had been joining the world as soon as that alarm went off.

For three weeks now, I have been waking up and staying where I am. I don’t go do anything. The first item on my list is to not do anything on my list. I wait and listen to the world wake up with the one who created the world. He continues to faithfully shove my hopes and fears for the day so that I can first hear his voice and let the other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. As a perk, most of those mornings I have even been able to get that 45 MOSC. I am fairly certain that is largely because in this case, unproductivity doesn’t make the floorboards squeak …

I’m still not a morning person, but I think these mornings are making me more of a person.

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This post was written by Nicki