After a ridiculously long vacation, I am back on campus this week to a full schedule, no longer master of my days. Back to the mines, as James yelled after me when I dramatically trudged off to two days of meetings last week.
Being back at school has me seeking out a new morning routine. I hate when the busyness of the semester crushes in, driving out all the quiet spaces in life, prompting me to roll over in bed until the last possible minute and then rushing around frantically to make it out the door in time. In theory, I like mornings. I can go from asleep to chatty in a remarkably short time and I dragged myself out of bed to go running before sunrise almost every morning of college. But in reality, this just testifies to being able to be good at mornings if forced, not liking them. In reality, I love those cozy flannel sheets and down comforter with the fire of a thousand suns and I will do anything to stay in them longer. My morning routine usually involves lots of wasting time on Facebook, watching pathetic TV while I curl my hair, and scrambling out the door just in time.
As I look forward to this semester, inwardly groaning at the work and stress, I realize that I need to start carving out some quiet in the everyday. I need to discipline myself to start each day a little earlier, fritter a little less time away on the Internet as I get ready, and have a soothing morning ritual. Ritual grounds us, roots us, calms us. This morning I made my tea, sat in the pool of sun at the table, and spent some time in quiet reading.* Scripture, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, those words bring quiet back to my soul.
And then it’s out the door and back to rushing.
But a little of the quiet will hopefully stay.
Note: That picture was taken by my dad when he lived in Kenya close to 40 years ago. It almost makes me want to learn film photography because I love it so much. It also reminds me, just like all those awesome Dutch still lives, how perfectly beautiful a messy table is.
* Full disclosure for the sake of reality: I was still running late this morning, so I had to rush to get my quiet, but we are taking baby steps towards zen mornings around here.
Agreed–on the search for quiet & the beauty of your Dad’s photograph (I actually thought it was a Dutch still life when I saw the thumbnail pop up in my blog reader. I think that having the temptations of facebook, internet, tv, etc so readily accessible makes finding quiet more of a determined discipline. I used to think that once I had a more laid-back schedule (post grad school, post-full-time teaching), it would come on its own, but lately I’ve realized that I have to make conscious decisions to cultivate the morning quiet rather than distracting myself with things like facebook (for me it’s meant not even touching the computer until I’ve had a time of devotional reading…)
I need to get better about putting off computer time!!! It is just such a [bad] habit to do it first thing when I wake up. And on one hand, scrolling through Instagram or email does help me wake up, but can quickly devolve into wasting time.
You describe much of what I need in my own life.
I felt twinges of envy when I read about you starting your semester. I miss school and look forward to going back!
Don’t be too envious… it means lots of homework! : )
Dad and I still have one of those blue enamel metal teapots that were in every thatched hut we visited…sweet memories.
A cat curled up beside you makes a quiet morning even more relaxing.
I wish we had a furry friend!
BLOG CORRECTION: Lawson lived in Kenya all of 1978 and got married in 1979…….that means dad was in Kenya 34 years ago…..he’s not quite as ancient as the 40 yrs ago implies. 🙂
Actually, that means it was 36 years ago… I just rounded up! : ) You all are far from ancient… just distinguished! : )
So beautiful. Finding quiet is hard, but important. Maybe you can customize this prayer/meditation to fit some quiet into the new semester and the new routine (http://sophiaspockets.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/a-prayer-for-new-beginnings/). Keep posting and keep sharing your wisdom.
“But in reality, this just testifies to being able to be good at mornings if forced, not liking them.” Oh, so true! My husband and I got up every morning at 5 a.m. and head to the gym when I used to have to get the kids ready for school and be to work by 8:00 a.m. But now that my son drives himself and his siblings to school and I work for my husband, I cannot seem to convince myself that 5 a.m. is a good idea and keep hitting the stinking snooze button several times before resetting the alarm altogether. I am so ashamed!