Before children, before marriage, before I even knew the Sarge existed, I used to go to bed at 9:00 PM every night. Back then, it was by choice. That was my bedtime as opposed to my children’s. I’d lay in bed reading, barely making it through a paragraph — reading and re-reading that last sentence over and over again trying to make sense of it in my sleep-riddled head — until I’d stop fighting it and happily succumb to peaceful slumber. My sister used to laugh at me… single and going to bed so early! But, I did it for this! To wake up in the wee hours of the morning for a private showing of the sunrise and to marvel at the peacefulness of a sleeping world. A world with no war, no judgements, no mean-spirited folks who insult others just because they’re unhappy with their own lives. I did it for a moment to myself in this truly wondrous and peaceful sleeping world! This is my favorite time! A time that contradicts the waking world where everyone, it seems, is searching for the next wonder drug to bring them health and youth, waiting impatiently for the winning lottery ticket to solve their financial problems, or running the crazy treadmill of life angrily anticipating the next quick answer to their most urgent dilemma. The answers, for me, lie in these quiet hours. In the silence of the morning. In the stillness of a world at rest. The answer is not to do more… but to desire less. The answer is not in waiting for the when but accepting the now.
Back then, I woke up every morning at 5AM without an alarm clock. I awoke — pleasantly, expectantly, peacefully — to run through my neighborhood (OK, it was actually more of a jog and barely that as both feet never really left the ground simultaneously which, our EI PT says, is the definition of running). I would run east as the sun was rising so I could watch it shyly peek out from above the rooftops and treetops to meet the new day. It was a private and peaceful glimpse of the day to come. A chance to breathe in deeply all the beauty the world has to offer before people woke up and spoiled it for me with their criticisms and complaints. It was a fresh start. My fresh start every day.
Though it’s been years since I ran, I still cherish these wee hours of the morning just as much. Somehow, in this quiet time, I manage never to make my To Do list for the day. I give no thought to the unpaid bills or the doctor’s appointments that haven’t been scheduled yet. I don’t care at all about what others think of me, my life, my children or my choices during this peaceful hour. This is my time! I renew my spirit. I bolster my belief in the good in humanity. I confirm my faith. And I feel the peace and love that is possible in an imperfect world.
Where do you find your peace?