Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
Morning’s embrace is the cool air that grazes your face if you’re fortunate to step outside while the dew dances its last. In the early hours, time still exists for hope to rise. The day waits like a blank journal page, a paradoxical offer in my opinion. My current journal says this on the opening page: “June 14, 2007, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. There is something so beautiful that I just ruined: this blank journal. There’s something so pure about it. No tragedy has marked its pages. No smudges or errors. It is innocent. Yet, now it has been tarnished.” And so morning offers this promise, limitless and boundless. Yet God has restricted Day from upholding Morning’s anticipation, and if morning never turned into day, my heart might break from loneliness, as ache seems to be my only friend while the dew remains. To choose the dreams that died with yesterday’s end takes the courage of a hungry bird that hunts for the elusive worm, despite consecutive mornings of mouthfuls of dirt.
If you’re willing to sit in silence with the tenacity of this bird, allowing your heart to rise past the obstacle course your life and sin have constructed, something eternal may warm your soul like the coffee mug in your hand.
Each new morning is a decision to believe, to choose again that Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice are fundamentally far truer than King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. It is likely the time when ache and loneliness speak the loudest, or it’s their chance to settle after screaming at you throughout the night. Hope rides atop the morning breeze begging for the chance to speak. Perhaps this sounds like French or Swahili, that this has never been your experience. Perhaps you find alliance with the worm, awakened by the crunch of dirt only to fight for his life. Could it be you have forgotten? Reminders of storied mornings long ago may remedy this amnesia.
The cynic says that every morning cannot be Christmas, but the cynic struggles to celebrate any morning, holidays or not. There’s only been one Resurrection morning, and even though Easter comes every year, I still prefer the ecstasy of Christmas morning because I get presents. The morning of my birthday used to come in a close second. It takes the wisdom of a child to remember morning’s invitation to be human. A cool 6 AM breeze hits me and I am back at summer camp, awaked by the creaking wooden bunks, the rubber eggs and pancakes, and the promise that she is there. I might even talk to her. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll return my gaze with a smile. She doesn’t have a name because her name changes every year. That’s not the point. It is the promise of intimacy.
I imagine the disciples felt that intensified longing coming off the water from a hard night’s work. Their anticipation increased as they sailed within 100 yards of shore, just close enough to see the flickering of the campfire on the beach. Perhaps it’s his! They scamper to the bow, forgetful of the nets that need to be pulled in and their extra layers of clothing strewn about. The promise of the campfire ignites reminiscence of the last time he spoke, the way he locked eyes with each of them, the look that saw Peter’s passion more worthy than his shame and the arm he threw around John’s shoulder. Thanks to the illuminating dawn, they recognize the silhouette of Jesus. Despite the urge to swim to shore, they anchor the boat with the haste of a hummingbird’s wings, hopeful to sit with him before the crowd shows.