First, let me make one thing clear: I am NOT a morning person. I am a night owl through and through. It’s all I can do to get myself into bed by midnight most nights.
And yet this morning I was up again at 5:30. I took my medicine, brushed my teeth and then settled onto the couch to say Morning Prayer. Then I read today’s Mass readings and made a spiritual communion. When that was done, I rolled to my side and fell asleep until Ben woke me up with his crying. This has been going on for more than a month now. And it is very strange to me.
When I first started waking up at 5 or 5:30 and found myself wide awake and unable to get back to sleep I was seriously annoyed. I’d toss in bed and finally drift back to sleep only to be awakened within half an hour by one of the children. The sun was barely turning the sky a paler shade of night, it was way too early to be up and about. Yet one day I gave up on trying to get back to sleep. I got up and went to the living room and prayed. Ben go up early that day and then it was one thing after another and yet somehow it went so much more smoothly than it had been.
Then it happened again and again. And every time I gave in and saw the early wake up as an opportunity to pray instead of a cursed nuisance, those days went just a little better. I might still be overtired and cranky and I might still lose my patience and yell; but I could see that without that quiet space at the beginning of the day it might have gone a lot worse.
It is a gift. It is not something I can make happen on my own. If I had decided I was going to wake up early to pray it would have been an abysmal failure. (Not that I can even fathom making such a decision!) And yet I knew that it might be something that would be good for me. Perhaps that little self-knowledge was just enough of a window to let God in. I can’t do it on my own; but I can say yes when he offers me the grace to do it.
No, I don’t set an alarm. And yet it happens almost every day. My eyes pop open and I have a moment of clarity, a moment of choice. Sometimes I really am too tired and I choose to roll back over and go back to sleep. But more and more often I find myself stumbling to the couch and answering the call, thanking God for another chance to be faithful.