Tuesday, January 3, 2017

preparing the day



I walked down the steps in the quiet house this morning. All the other bedroom doors were still closed. With the faint light of the Christmas tree in the living room, I made coffee and settled under a heated blanket, willing my mind and heart to wake up to these few minutes alone before the other bedroom doors opened and feet and legs carried more people downstairs.

My sister was the first of them to come down. Her husband followed soon after. We said good morning, and then they left me to my reading and praying in the dim light. In the next room, the kitchen lit up the day brighter than the hidden sun outside could, and I heard drawers and the fridge and little lunch bags opening and closing and filling and emptying. The two little ones upstairs slept until their dad went to stir them awake.

As I prayed, I wondered about how my Father had been preparing the day before me even while I still slept.

***

Years ago, during my first year out of college, this happened one night: I needed my dad, but he was asleep and wouldn't be wakened. I had called home, hoping he would listen and give me the advice I needed. My mother had answered and relayed that he wouldn't come to the phone. I hung up, feeling overwhelmed and afraid and, though becoming an adult, very much in need of a father. That night, I notched another disappointment on the long tally regarding my father I had started long ago.

And then this happened: I heard a voice remind me he who keeps you will neither slumber nor sleep. 

Somehow, this other Father I was still becoming acquainted with was so very different from my earthly one. Awake when I needed him, attentive to my cry, able to meet my needs.

***

I will not leave you orphaned. I read this in the morning as I pray by the dim light of the Christmas tree and think of it as little feet pad down the steps, eyes still heavy with deep sleep. They pull cereal from the shelf and load their arms with milk, bowl, spoon. They pour and eat as their mother sits next to them -- awake and ready -- her presence and questions meant to convey love and protection and preparation for this new day.

***
(photo: sunlight in a coffee shop)

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