Before the sun makes its daily debut over the pristine Portland skyline, I make my way out from under the covers into the brisk Spring air and through the double-doors of one of my favorite coffee shops in the Pearl to meet a new friend for a good old fashioned cup of joe. If you know me, you probably know that I love mornings, most of the time. And then there are the other times when I have to set 5 alarms three minutes apart just to drag myself out of bed. But I do it, because once my feet hit the ground and the showerhead spits out those reviving waters, I wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place. And then, especially once that warm mug is firmly in my grip wafting the fine aroma of an even more reviving kind of liquid, you can bet I’m wondering why I don’t do this every morning. Sadly, I still don’t have a good answer to that question, I’ll have to get back to you on that…
Sundays are taking on a new shape for me as of late. I’ve always been especially fond of Sundays because for me the day is imprinted with images of early mornings, community, Scripture and sound teachings that re-center me and renew my perspectives for yet another week [God willing]. Emphasis on the early mornings portion…
I’ve always been a morning person, so it comes as little surprise that I have long since preferred the early services at church. Personally, it’s the time I feel most awake and aware and able to retain what I hear, and most able to then reflect on what I’ve heard, chew on it for awhile and then perhaps even do something about it. But since I’ve moved to Portland, I’ve found myself embracing a rhythm characterized around lazy Sunday mornings spent sleeping in succeeded by post-sunset services. This is in part due to the fact that evenings are the only time the downtown services meet. Furthermore, it’s the service everyone from our house church attends, and well, it just works. And I’ll admit I’ve grown to appreciate the routine here more than I’ve ever been able to before, but there is still something about the early a.m. hours that I feel like I’m missing out on. So I signed up for the Theology class that Solid Rock is offering downtown on Sunday mornings and I’m discovering a deep sense of gratitude welling up in me as a result. It reminds me how much I love being a student. How much I miss being steeped in deep, critical thought while the air is still crisp, the coffee is still hot and the skyline still hazzy with fog. And for all the petitions and arguments that attempt to keep me tucked firmly away beneath the covers come Sunday morning, I have learned that the getting up and the going are ultimately always worth it notwithstanding. And so I do. And it is. And I’m so thankful. The day is filled with so much promise when you don’t sleep through it.
Recently I had the pleasure of sharing my fondness for early mornings and Portland coffee and heart-to-hearts with a lovely girl who just keeps popping up in my life in the most random, unexpected and delightful ways. Take for example the time a friend and I were co-hosting [hostessing?] a little gathering of friends over wine and cheese and small treats. We had both invited friends of ours, some of which we knew mutually, and others we did not. When Abby walked through my door, my jaw dropped. I had no idea she would be there nor did she know that when she accepted the invite from my co-hostess, that invite would bring her across the threshold into my apartment. It was… perfect. Moments like these are precious to me because they make a really big, often cold and calloused world seem just a little bit smaller, warmer and brighter. So we took it as a sign and decidedly made our run-ins more deliberate and purposeful… bringing us to this particular morning.
It’s amazing how quickly two hours can fly by. The time spent in the company of this sweet girl made me wish I really did do this every day. There is just something about the hours surrounding sunrise that always feel more honest, more pure, and certainly more fruitful. And even though her own feelings toward this time of day are quite the antitheses of my own, she still met me there, resisted the urge to hit snooze and made her way into the chair across from me trusting the caffeine to come through and carry her the rest of the way. And I’m so thankful she did, because moments like these are sacred. While the rest of the city sleeps, these moments are gathered up like gemstones. More often than not they go entirely unnoticed and overlooked, slipping through our fingers before they’ve ever had the chance to be discovered, unearthed, and appreciated.
See exhibit A:
Now I understand that mornings are not for everyone. I’m a rarity in that I happen to be predispositioned with an ability that enables me to rise quickly, sprightly and cheerfully… most of the time. Some of my most cherished memories have been illuminated by dawns first light. And yet the very moments that feel most sacred to me resemble something more like being ripped through a knot-hole backwards for others. I get that. For me though, it seems that with each passing year as time becomes less abundant and simultaneously all the more precious, my appreciation for these hours grows exponentially with it. There is an insatiable craving in me to partake in the compounded potential that seems to reside in the suspended hours surrounding day break. Granted, it’s not always the easiest choice or practice, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t worth it every.single.time.
Anyone else out there have any thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear them, no matter which side of sunrise you find yourself waking up on… :)
Grace & Peace