I got up with Bob this morning at 4:30. That’s morning. Saturday morning. A.M. He’s working today and we generally get going together even though my trek this Saturday ends at the edge of the sidewalk and his ends up at work in Ingleside.
I like early mornings and don’t have a hard time waking up. Back in the day, I didn’t wake up often. I came to more days than not, lurching awake with a blurred sense of wonder about what I’d said or done the previous night.
These days, a relatively quiet alarm trills with what T-mobile calls “Twilight.” It’s a happy and upbeat melody that would have made me flush the cell phone if it penetrated my sleep years ago. Today, the little button on the side gets a squeeze to give me a 5 minute reprieve.
At one time, I hated mornings. It took a few years sober to wake up with a first thought that didn’t include a curse word. If I said God’s name, it usually included what I would have considered God’s last name. I have found that waking up with a “Thanks, God” usually sets the tone for my day. And that’s how I started this day.
I used to wake with worries about my children or grandchildren, about money, about work, about who or what had made me mad and how I was going to handle it. I read that the first thought I had upon awakening was what I worshipped. Was it money? Family? My job? It wasn’t starting with God, that’s for sure.
I thought that I had no control over my first thoughts. Turns out I do. I can have a quick intervention and sidetrack the committee that must have been meeting in my head throughout the night. It works to get my first thoughts back to my BFF, God.
Another thing that I use when the day starts is the Welcoming Prayer.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment
because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any
person, or myself.
I open to the
love and presence of God
the healing action and grace within.
––– Mary Mrozowski 1925-1993
I was given a copy of it a few weeks after my son Jack died. At that time, I thought what kind of crazy person in what kind of insane universe would think that prayer was comforting. (“I welcome this situation? Are you kidding? I let go of the desire the change this situation?”) I had so many days when all I could think was how I had failed him. There were hourly stretches when I would wish with all the power in my person that my life had become a nightmare and I would waken from it. Grief became despair and was my constant companion. I woke with it and fell asleep with it.
The Welcoming Prayer sat on the end table next to my couch for weeks, maybe months. I would pick it up and shake my head in sympathy for what I perceived as my friend’s stupidity. One day, I read it with an open heart and there was comfort in the words. I read the prayer every morning today and say it at times during the day when I am trying to wrest control and management for the day.
I learned to say welcome to the day as it was. Not how I wished it were. Grief was on my shoulders and I couldn’t wish it away. Neither could I wish away anger, guilt, or resentment. Each one of those visitors needed to sit with me. In those months after Jack died, there were so many negative emotions swirling in my mind, my heart.
They aren’t my friends, that’s for sure. But they have a place in my life. Fighting them just seems to make them fight back. Wishing them away puts me back into LaLaLand which is where I spent A LOT of time when I was drinking. I will not believe that God caused Jack’s death; that defies everything I believe about the God of my understanding. Welcoming God’s presence and love in my life with no reservations, however, heals me. The Welcoming Prayer kicks off my morning and starts the healing day by day.