Psalm 92:1-2 “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.”
Hm. See - a morning person I am NOT. Unless you count going to bed just before dawn giving love in the morning ;) And at that point I have been faithful all night!
|This image is far later in the day than it is as I write this!|
Our home schedules are shifted later in the day - our scheduled activities are typically mid-afternoon and later, with one online class late Tuesday morning for my son. We arrive back home from evening activities around 8 p.m. and I do NOT want to ship my son off to bed already. We both need our down-time, re-settle time, story-time, prayer-time, prepare for the next day, some quiet time before going to bed and sleeping restfully. So it is much closer to 10:00 for him. By then, my night-owl-ness has firmly kicked in and I work for several more hours - the number varies throughout any given month depending on many factors - but it can be assumed that I am most productive while burning the night candles ;)
When I rise, usually about 6 hours later, I rise with the sun, and am well-rested and ready for a full, productive day layered in our built-in prayer times.
So what does this have to do with the atrium?
There are two things that get me out of bed in the pre-dawn hours of late. One of them is occasional enough to be only a minor nuisance (tae-kwon-do belt tests and tournaments) - but what could POSSIBLY get me out of bed so early in the morning that the birds haven't yet spoken - one day a week every. single. week. ????
As I type this, the rain is pouring down heavy, the clouds are so thick, I think the sun should be peeking around about now, but it is still just about pitch-black outside. And I am awake. And I'm ok with it, although that bed is still calling my name!
The level 3 atrium starts at 9:00 this morning (the morning I type this - though I schedule it later) and I like to be there at least an hour early so that I can be collected and ready - and typically there is someone (a parent, a catechist, an early student) who wants my attention for something - and I want to be available for that and still have my own needs met.
But I am so tired, I can't even eat, which means I likely won't eat until after atrium. So Sunday mornings are days of fasting for me.
But what makes it all worth it? The children! Yes! Sharing with the other adults! Yes!
But more than that?
Stepping away. To a different place. A place out of time (just ask the children who are routinely dismissed at least 5 minutes late!). A place where the worries of the outside world have slipped away and I have no commitments except to BE. To BE with the children. To BE with the adults. To BE in the presence of God and simply serve Him in the immediate needs and relationships of those people around me.
When I go back home, it is back to e-mails and orders and deadlines and post office issues (don't get me started! as I type this another early bird is sending me a message that her package appears delayed at the post office) and neighbor noise and traffic and bills and debt and clutter I just want gone and homeschooling and all those typical worries of the average American. We don't NEED all these worries - we just need to be present to people. Yet, I pile it all on myself.
I pray, this Advent, that the spirit of the atrium will be allowed (by me!) to pour out into the rest of my life. That I can peacefully work through the issues at hand and truly BE PRESENT to those around me.
That is the lesson I receive from the atrium every time I sacrifice my morning sleep hours. And it is so worth it.
Thus on these mornings, I can truly sing, "Early in the morning, my song shall rise to Thee!"
Just as soon as I get the frog out of my throat ;)