I rise long before the light and have for many years. It is my most productive time. But in this season of long dark, despite my lists of tasks and the press of things, I find that slowing is what I need to do. Perhaps it is a reaction to the frenetic pace of life, to the frenetic pace of my life, and the urgency of my calling…you see, I believe that what I do makes a difference, to me at least, and often to others…
Despite all of that, I find myself slowing in this season. I find myself taking more time. Spending more time. Noticing time more.
My regular spiritual practice is about noticing and finding gratitude. I often start with gratitude for something small. A nod from a stranger on the street. That is one of the things I value most about being in DC. That friendliness that may be Black and may be southern but is certainly welcome.
I often start small and then allow my spirit to lift its focus in gratitude for all that is my life, and all that is this world…that I did not create, and which does not rely on me except as its witness.
In this season of long dark, I find myself taking more time for gratitude. More time for noticing. More time to allow my spirit to wander.
And the miracle of these days is that the to do list still gets done. At least the important things. And I promise myself that I will remember that truth as the light lengthens, and sun warms my spirit into action.
But, somehow, I always need the long dark to remind me again. It is a blessing of this season that I have come to rely on.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
I was reminded of a short piece, written by Rev. Ken Collier, that may speak to you as it spoke to me this morning, long before the light.
There are reports. Chimpanzees awakening in trees.
The whole silent band turning and watching
As the sun rises over the forest and light
Fills the air. And then they begin the day.
There are reports of this. Is it true?
I looked at the sky this morning as dawn began
To awaken. The black tide of darkness was ebbing
To deep blue, and the moon was falling toward
The western horizon. A few bright stars and one planet
Shone through the opening sky.
I stopped and watched and prayed. I thought of those
Silent chimpanzees standing reverently in their trees
Watching the sun and the light. My heart whispered,
“Thank you.” To no one. Just thank you.
Blessings of the season.