When I awaken in the morning, I have been known to have only one eye officially open for about 15 minutes. I’m not exaggerating. When all my children were younger, I would read quotes that would say something to the effect of, “Getting up before your family is highly important in order to insure the proper running of a holy household.” Now, I’m certain such messages were delivered with a lot more compassion and sincerity than memory presents here, but, nevertheless, I failed time and time again to follow those beautiful lines from Proverbs 31.
I had read and re-read the verse from Phillippians, so I knew that I am capable through Christ who strengthens me. I knew that His grace is sufficient. I knew that He lovingly stands at the door of my heart and knocks. I, though, struggled with my flesh not cooperating with my soul and my mind. It is true that without Him, I am nothing.
It has been only 6 months since I finally began to look forward to getting up at least 15 minutes before everyone else in the family. Now, it is common for me to arise well before the kiddos by about one hour! I’m not kidding. The key that fits the lock has finally been revealed: I am just plain incapable.
I am incapacitated in the wee morning hours. Yes, when others would choose to farm, sew, practice an instrument, exercise…sigh…well, I am staring at the 6:15 a.m. alarm going off, my mind warring over two thoughts. Do I get up? or do I not get up? Until last fall, I would choose the not (every time!) and proceed to whine about all day, lamenting my inability to stick to the plan I had prayed over, worked out, typed up and maybe even framed. So, what was this secret key?
The key for me to hop (well, that’s a stretch…creak and moan is more accurate) out of bed before the sun rises is making a plan that is more like a procedure list rather than a schedule–a list that keeps at the forefront the Ultimate Goal of someday residing eternally with The King of Kings in the mansion He’s preparing. If the King of Kings who stooped so low when carrying that cross for all of us can be concerned with crafting a mansion for me inside His Heavenly Home, then who am I to be so slothful as to ignore the very steps that can help me walk into each new day with certain direction?
The key for me to arise and greet the Lord each morning is the acknowledgement that while my soul seems to have no trouble longing for Him and my mind seems able to think about Him much during the day, my body seemed incapable of co-operating with any plan that had ever been put before me in a practical sense. The problem with my plans was always the same, I wasn’t telling my body exactly what to do so my body just wanted to lay down and rest some more. How to get my temporal self to cooperate with my mind and soul? St. Thomas said mind-BODY-soul, right?
The key to motivating my body to move is to tell my body exactly what to do; every morning I do the following 9 things to orient my body in time and space to the ultimate Point of Vision. Note that my list starts at the bottom of the page so that my eyeball (remember I’m operating on ONE at this point) will rise up the page like smoke from incense.
My body must walk the path of waking and greeting The King of Kings into the day by following this list:
9. Writing Projects as Time Allows
8. Planning Time/Spiral Notebooks
7. Journal/Bible/Prayer List
6. Sacred Music: St. Hildegarde
5. Light Candle
4. Open Curtains at East Window
3. Fix Coffee Tray
2. Move Lauds Basket into Living Room by Couch
1. Start Coffee/Morning Liturgy Phone App
Stepping into the Day…
( Note that the list is in reverse order with the title at the bottom of the page so that it captures the attention of my eye!)
The list is an orientation to the East and involves physical movement. Intentionally, all 5 senses are incorporated into this personal morning activity. Incorporating the 7 Liberal Arts Traditions into my personal prayer space has been very instrumental in orienting myself to goodness, truth and beauty, which allows me to stand tall and face the day with awareness of Him Who Made All Things and just how much He loves me and the family that He entrusted to me. As I make my way UP the list, I am reminded of this verse:
Incline my heart according to your will, My God,
Speed my steps along your path according to your will, O God.
It’s my prayer that you will be inspired to come up with your own way to orient toward the East each day. What does it mean to orient my mind, body and soul each morning upon rising? Have you found a way to do this already? If so, please share your thoughts below.
As you can see in the photo above, I have the list printed out in pretty font and sitting right on top of my morning lauds basket. If you check back here soon, I will share what’s in that basket…
Till then, Easter Blessings,