Mo woke me a few minutes past six. I admit to grumbling a bit as I slipped my bare feet into fleece lined shoes and tried to find the sleeves of my polartec bathrobe which I‘d left all crumbled and upside down on the chair. At the front door I fumbled with his leash, unbolted the lock, and stepped out into - - the dawn of Beauty. Immediately I woke up completely, laughing. Benedicite Domino!! I cried out as though the spirit of old Mother Ann from the novitiate suddenly filled me. The sky was heavy with rosy light. Overwhelmed with it. An Advent light already, even though we only stand on tiptoe at the threshold of that season. Mother Ann gather all her novices together one Advent Sunday to stand in such a dawn. On the prairie, though, the light suffused the entire sky. Here it gathers in smooth globes above the mountains.
Later, back inside the house, I remembered yesterday as I was driving to town and sunlight angled through the woods to pick up the pure yellow of the few remaining large-leaf-maple leaves. Suddenly all the love in all the people I’ve ever known felt present to me. I nearly had to stop the car. Maybe I should have done that--stopped the car and tramped off into the woods to pick a yellow leaf. I could have pressed it in my Bible for remembrance.
We live by glimpses, don’t you think? We realize in short intakes of breath. The signal that can open the door to truth and awareness and joy can be easily overlooked, even refused. “That’s pretty, but I don’t have time to stand here right now. There’s way to much to do. Next time it happens maybe I’ll have the time.” But it never happens again in quite the same way.
The other day Sam loaned me a computer game. I don’t play computer games, but she was sure I’d like this one called “Syberia.” In it I get to solve a mystery with a female sleuth named Kate. Here’s a lesson I learned: Kate and I are caught in her room, or we are caught in the Inn, or we are caught on the street of the town until all the clues of that place are picked up. Only then can we proceed. If we can’t find all the clues, we either go round in circles or we go backwards. You really have to keep your eyes open.
Very like life itself. What if I missed the sunrise simply because I couldn’t take the time, or because my mind was stuck on making that first cup of coffee? Some bright path to a fuller life could well have been closed to me.
This morning I came inside after the intense rose color faded and the sky around it turned blue. I lit my candles for prayer and opened the book to the psalms for dawn, November 16th. One of them leapt off the page: Psalm 5.
“Lord, listen to my voice in the morning;
in the morning I will stand before you and await you.”
A song came to mind, and it was a paraphrase of this psalm. I never realized that before. It was written by a young folk singer from Minnesota, and we sang it often back in the 1970s. We sang it when Pat and I got married. We sang it when my dad died. It contained for us the paradox of those times, choices made in the midst of ambiguity that challenged us to see every clue, and that opened up so many doors. It brought me here, to this very moment. At this moment all of life feels simultaneous to me--every individual love tucked into the heart of every other. I sing the song:
What can I give to my God, my God,
For all he’s done for me?
Cuz all I’ve got is the life he gave me
And the love that sets me free;
And there are times when I get so low
I feel like I’ve got only pain.
Oh Lord, take a song in the morning,
And hear me when I call Your Name.
I knew the entire thing by heart. Isn’t that amazing?