Tag Archives: mornings

Even for Night Owls, God’s Mercies Are “New Every Morning”

What a sweet morning I’ve just experienced! And this from a person not in the habit of gushing about mornings. A “morning person,” I am not.

The preceding sentence is just a fact. No moral ramifications are attached. Not by me. I have actually even met a few humble morning folks who seem to harbor no self-righteous “early to rise” prejudices. I refer the others to mounting research and genuinely science-based books such as Dr. Till Roenneberg’s Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired. Get up with the roosters if you want to; just please be quiet and don’t crow about it—and, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t bang the lights on!

Our chronotypes—whether you’re a morning lark, a night owl, or a “third bird” (something in between—check out Claudia Hammond’s fun and fascinating Time Warped)—are as hard-wired as our eye color. Granted, the time you’re due at work or school is likely beyond your control, but nobody can control the genes and physiology, your “chronotype,” that dictates when you will generally be most alert, effective, and efficient. The owl under my hat has no problem with mornings; I just like them as dark, as silent, and as still as possible, until caffeine and hot running water can accomplish a resurrection.

All said to underline how very beautiful this particular morning was, even from an owl’s perspective. (My wife and I had the sweet blessing of an unusually un-rushed morning.)

When I awoke, it was deliciously dark. Darkness can be a metaphor for evil, but in a safe, warm place, it can also be as beautifully enfolding as a blanket. I’d banked the fire the night before, tucking in with ashes what was left of the glowing embers so that this morning I could simply rake the ash-blanket aside, lay on some more wood, and wait for the flickering fire to spring into life and warmth. Flickering in darkness is the best kind of flickering a fire does.

I made coffee so as to be able to find my pulse. Later on, I perused the headlines in a digital version of The Wall Street Journal. It was nice to get a couple of my prejudices confirmed. Article headline, front page-below the fold: “Please Do Your Sneezing at Home: Employees Strike Back Against Coughing Colleagues.” (Of course, one colleague will spray disinfectant and sniffle-shame you if you show up sick, even as another will call you a slacker if you take sick leave. Catch-22.)

And I smiled at the book review of Dreyer’s English, a book by Benjamin Dreyer (review by Ben Yagoda). “Being well copy-edited is like getting ‘a really thorough teeth-cleaning,’” Dreyer writes. And he mentions a famous New Yorker editor’s rule: “Try to preserve an author’s style if he is an author and has a style.”

But before heading to the Journal, I sought more timeless wisdom. I decided today to read and pray the “morning office” from the venerable Book of Common Prayer. (There are apps for that! For iPad, iPhone, or PC, search “The Mission of St. Clare.” It’s one of the best. By the way, if you think this sounds terribly “spiritual,” you obviously don’t know me.)

One of the Scriptures for the morning was Psalm 19. “The heavens declare the glory of God, / and the firmament shows his handiwork.” I love that psalm in any translation, but I decided to check it out also in The Message, and, wow! Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase is always amazing, but never better than this: “God’s glory is on tour in the skies, / God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. / Madame Day holds classes every morning, / Professor Night lectures each evening.” (To read it all, head to http://www.biblegateway.com and go to Psalm 19 in The Message.)

No, I’ll never be a morning person. But I do indeed believe that God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3). And I really enjoyed this one.

 

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2019 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 


Third Birds, Trampoline Mats, and Early Mornings

Third bird. That’s the term author Daniel Pink uses, in his book When, for folks who aren’t by nature larks (morning people) or owls (night people).

Having taken the analysis he recommends for determining where one nests on that feathery continuum, I was a little surprised to find myself perched in the third bird category. I’ve always thought I followed in my mother’s footsteps as the very definition of a night owl. (Henceforth I will simply say “owl”; “night owl” is as redundant as “hot water heater.”) I like the quiet and warm enfolding that night affords and, with it, opportunities for reading, writing, musing, perusing, working, breathing during sweet moments when one’s cell phone is under control (as in, OFF), and a large percentage of the population is comfortably tucked in and unconscious.

On the fairly rare occasions I’ve tested early mornings—I’m doing that right now, but they don’t come as naturally to me—I’ve found that they provide some of the same benefits as late evenings and have their own good flavor. Just let me ease into light and volume. I can make coffee just fine in the dark, and my mouth is where it’s always been. The computer screen’s brightness needs to be throttled down. I wish its key-clicking could be muted. And, please, let’s put off speech until coffee does its work and the sun follows suit.

Mom was not a morning person; I wonder now who it was who used to wake us up singing the old and always obnoxious “Good Morning to You” song with its line about “all in our places with sunshiny faces.” Ouch.

Third birds like me evidently can go a bit either way, though I’ll definitely morph more toward midnight than morning. Just mind the light, please.

But I’m writing early this morning. I blame the trampoline. My back, which was awake before the rest of me, thinks I spent too much time testing a new mat yesterday afternoon.

The old mat served long and well. Four sons did their best to work it out. One Great Dane spent a little time on it but found it hard on his hip. That mat was shaving cream-stained from grandkid fun days complete with water, sprinklers, “silly string,” water balloons, etc. And it had lots of mileage on it as a launching pad for jumping and giggling grandkids on the back of a winged unicorn or about to be eaten by a hungry orc. The aforementioned unicorn/orc recently put his foot (rapidly) through what was a small tear in the mat. Hence, new mat. Hence, time testing new mat. Hence, up early this morning.

The lawyer litter tag on the new mat says it needs to be used with mature supervision. My wife read that and said I don’t count.

Scripture says that God’s mercies are “new every morning.” My back will be fine. The coffee is on board, and I don’t at all mind admitting that on this early morning, the Creator of each new day has blessed me with some sweet memories. I’m ready to make some more! I just need a nap first.

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2018 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice


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