"...Oh, wake up Susie
Put your shoes on
Walk with me into this light..."
- James Taylor
The minute I heard this video, of James Taylor singing "Another Day," which my friend Amy posted on Facebook, I thought of my love for the hours between dusk and dawn. In the Bible's first chapter of Genesis, it says, "And the evening and the morning were the first day"...and the second day, and the third day, and on and on until creation was complete and given the benediction that, "God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good, thus the heavens and the earth were finished..." I love this. I love thinking that my day begins with a proper sense of "evening" and naturally evolves into the "morning," and not the other way around. In part, Mary Baker Eddy, spiritually defines these terms as:
"Evening: ...peace and rest"
"Morning: Light, symbol of Truth; revelation and progress."
Of course, there is always the demand, in beginning one's day with the evening, to arrest any mistiness of thought...and weariness of mind...that would obscure our views of Divinity, present as humanity. But once that is done, I love establishing the foundation of my day by beginning with a clear sense of peace and rest in the evening. Then I can watch, in the hours between the evening and the morning, for those "first faint morning beams" of inspiration and promise wakening me to new view of divine goodness and love...in my life and in the lives of others. When the morning dawns, I am filled with a confident expectation of revelation and progress throughout the day. In this "space" the night (or evening) is not the opposite of day, but is folded into the delight, wonder, and promise of its beauty.
But back to my love for the night...and one instance of why.
The other night someone dear to me called at about two in the morning...heart aching, peace shattered, confidence quaking. She thought she was calling too late. I assured her that I was very much awake, had been, and was certain, that I was awake for no other reason than to be completely ready for her call. This was the absolute truth.
I'd had a full day, a fuller evening, and a very, very full night of calls and emails...but as I finished up the last reply, folded the final load of laundry, started the dishwasher, and walked the dog...it was so clear to me that the physical and mental weariness that had been screaming at me all night as reasonable, was suddenly like an annoying, little gnat buzzing around my head. I could easily swat it away in light of the joy I knew I'd feel in speaking with my friend.
As I've explained above, night is my favorite time of day. It is so rich with silence, fathomless space, and inspiration. I wish I could stay awake all night and only take cat naps occasionally through the day. I've never been a big sleeper. It seems like such a waste of all that silence. The need for sleep is not something I have prayed about, overcome, or "demonstrated over". It's just the way I arrived. I believe that this must be what God intended for me to "be" from the beginning...and I have been faithful.
As a child I was, in fact...and much to my parents exasperation...very, very faithful to my appointment as someone who "refused to go to sleep." I was often caught reading hours and hours after "lights out." After I'd almost burned down the bunkbeds my sister and I shared by taking the wall-mounted lamp off the wall and putting it under my covers, my parents let me leave the lamp on, for as long as I wanted to read, on the condition that I was up, dressed, and off to school on time each morning. I was.
I really do trust that if God wanted me to get my rest by sleeping, he would begin by putting the desire for sleep in my heart. It hasn't happened yet! But this is also why I believe that this is not the way it is, or should be, for everyone...or anyone else. This is why there is such beautiful "diversity of spirits" in the universe of fellowship. God puts our desires in our hearts in individual ways so that there are both night owls and early birds...that way all the moments of the day are loved!!! Anyway, back to my story...
So when my friend called I was happier than a child sitting on the front steps holding a new ball, hoping someone would come by to play catch. I'd been reading, thinking, praying, listening for exciting new ways to look at thing spiritually, and so the joy of having someone to listen together with...for ideas, inspiration, unfolding direction...was a slice of pure happiness for me.
It wasn't a case of me walking her into the light, but the two of us walking together in the radiating light of love that our united hearts created when we came together in the dance of "Our Father...give us this day...". It was like having two batteries, instead of just one, in a flashlight. The connection of our two hearts coming together in a united hunger for a divine sense of purpose, brought a light which illumined a rich field of inspiration and direction, white for our harvesting harvest. The resulting bounty fed us both to overflowing.
The hours sped by quickly as we talked and listened and laughed and talked. But by dawn we were both so deeply rested that our voices were light with joy as we said our "love you, talk to you later"s.
The only place the word "exhaustion" has in my vocabulary is as a waste product the come from a combustible engine. I am not combustible. I do not depend upon a stimulus/reaction model to nerve my endeavors, to drive my actions, to kindle my desires, to encourage me to work, or to motivate my behavior. I have no space in my life for any waste...and exhaustion is a waste of my time...day or night.
The Biblical precedent for my confidence came from a Sunday School student, who, when we looked together at the story of Moses and the burning bush that was not consumed, found promise for the environmental challenges we face in an expanding carbon dependent global community. As he said, "The bush burned, so it put off energy...heat, light...but it was not consumed, so there was no waste." Brilliant, and out of the mouth of a babe. It figures!!
No exhaustion with the expending of useful energy.
Mary Baker Eddy says two things that I love about active, purpose-filled sleepless, but restful, hours:
"The highest and sweetest rest,
even from a human standpoint, is in holy work."
"The consciousness of Truth rests us more
than hours of repose in unconsciousness."
I am resting the case of my wakeful heart on these Law-based promises, and on Biblical precedence. And so far, these divine promises from my Father-Mother God, have been kept throughout my life. Thanks Amy for posting "Another Day". I loved it.
Kate Robertson, CS