Let me be real honest with you for a second.
I really struggle to love mornings.
In fact, I really struggle to even do mornings – let alone love them.
I love the idea of waking up early and living the first hour of the day in still darkness. I love the idea of being awake when the world starts to stir. When the black sky begins to turn dark blue, and then gray, and then pink, and then blue. I sometimes even think glad thoughts when I set my alarm for 5:50 the evening before.
But then morning actually happens. And I am no longer loving the thought of it. The only thought I’m loving is the idea of returning to bed. Getting up is usually the hardest thing I do. (You may conclude from this sentence that I have an easy life. Perhaps. But also, mornings are really hard.)
A snapshot of my morning is as follows:
I am completely unconscious. My dreams are an odd combination of reality and fantasy. My body is enveloped in the coziest comforter I could imagine. My side is pressed up against my husband’s sleeping form. Suddenly, as if coming from a far away world, the obnoxious strains of an iphone alarm begin to invade my dream world. I am three-quarters unconscious. Annoyance. Exhaustion. A deep desire to ignore the sixteen-second loop playing over and over again across the room. Three minutes of fighting the ideas of snooze buttons and returning to my warm spot in the bed and then I scoot myself to the end of the bed and shuffle over to the phone. It is unplugged, the only good part about getting out of bed is not having to hear it play through loop yet again.
Quick stop in the bathroom. Wiggle my toes, bend my knees in front of the mirror. Estimate the amount of work that will go into taming my mane and rubbing the sleep out of my reddish eyes. I hear the coffee maker click on. The rumblings of the morning’s brew begin.
I flip the light on in the kitchen. Bread, meat, cheese, mayonnaise. Salad ingredients. Granola bar. Banana. They are all found and added to the semi-stained lunchbox. An ice pack is inserted, and the lunch for my husband is made. The coffee is now done brewing. I heat up the half and half and pour my first cup of steaming black liquid, watching the frothy cream turn it to a soft brown. The first sip is heavenly. Thirty minutes of being up, still half-asleep my greatest desire is join my still sleeping husband in slumber.
I go to his side, rest my head on his and he mumbles good morning. A few sleepy kisses, some caresses and stretches. He gets up. I go back to the kitchen to my hot coffee. I turn to Psalm 123. I lift my heavy eyes in prayer to God. These days cannot be lived without you.
The eggs are scrambled. The smoothie blended. The bread toasted. We eat quietly. It is almost seven. A full hour after the alarm went off and I at last feel awake. Not fully, but enough to be functional. I scrub the dishes. I wipe the counters off. The goodbye hugs and kisses are had. The day has begun.
“Remember:” my phone reads when my alarm goes off. “Remember: being awake will get better.”
I live that first hour in faith and hope and constant prayer. I am at my weakest and have to fight my hardest in the morning. Sometimes I do stay in bed for a few snooze buttons longer. Somedays I don’t even set the alarm. But most mornings I have to get up. I know the benefit of that morning watch when the world is still dark and the world still sleeping. I know the reward of feeding our bodies in the morning and feeding our souls. I know the beauty of watching the world out the windows take form in as the morning light begins to wake it.
A year ago I wrote about some of the tools that were helping me conquer the mornings (shout out to Timehop for reminding me that I was struggling then too). I thought it would get easier. It hasn’t. Not much, at least. But I keep trying. And each morning that the alarm goes off I pout and whine and wish it could be Saturday, I am practicing what it means to rely solely on power greater than my own. Maybe that’s my favorite thing about mornings, and about doing hard things in general. Because when I am weak, then I am strong. Joy lies right behind the hard.