730am. Zack is up and about the house.
830am. Zack is off to law school.
930am. I have to log into my work laptop from my home office.
That leaves two large hours between the time I am first roused and the time I need to be doing something. Two hours during which I have no motivation to move a pinky. So I’ve developed a new morning activity:
The lazy and lingering bedside strategy session.
This activity occurs while wrapped in a blanket of goose feathers and with soft light peeking in through slightly askew blinds. Sometimes there is a heating blanket involved. Sometimes there is music. A memory-foam mattress and lots of gently supportive pillows are involved. And it is the absolute worst part of my day.
The experience is like watching a ticker tape at the bottom of the Red Zone channel. The ticker tape streams all of the tasks you must complete over the course of the rest of your entire life, while the live action animates all of your most colorful concerns for the day and offers options for how they might be (or fail to be) tackled.
I’m pretty sure this activity is the opposite of prayer.
On Friday, I decided to escape my own morning monologue by reading Psalms (which often begin with content surprisingly similar to my bedside strategy sessions). Then, I hoped, I’d be able to follow the psalmist’s route from fear, frustration, and discontent to hope, trust, and praise. Rather than beginning and ending with… well, fear, frustration, and discontent.
I started at the beginning. Psalm 1. And the words on the page (screen, let’s be honest) sounded to my soul like an echo of kinship from a different generation. The verses subdued the voices calling out warnings and arrows and cliches in my own mind. The narrator reminded me I am not alone in the human condition. The delicious pairing of disappointment with joy tasted like a hearty bowl of Cheerios to my mind. This was much more constructive than bathing in anxiety and wearing the weight of my little world like a blanket.
So I’ve concluded that mornings will better be suited to consuming Psalms rather than producing solutions to all of my life’s greatest conflicts and complications, riots and responsibilities. If you ever happen to catch me biting my lip or chewing my fingernails in bed with my eyes open (unlikely, I am sure considering that slumber parties are rare this time of life) please hand me a Bible and remind me to eat up! I would much much much appreciate it.
Here’s Psalm 3 for the road:
Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.