Editor’s note: First of a 10-part series on physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health.
I have just gotten up on the first morning of a new decade. Yes, as I write, it is Jan. 1, 2020, approximately 7 a.m. (I write and send out columns about a week in advance of calendar dates, and newspapers may use them whenever it suits.)
Seven a.m. is “sleeping in” for me, which is a new luxury after retiring last spring. My husband and I rarely sleep past 7:30 and it is not unusual for me to still rise around 5 or 5:30 to get some writing done before the rest of the day launches into chores, exercise, errands, naps, making meals. We are both still ecstatic NOT to be blared into wakefulness by a 3 a.m. alarm, which was our life for at least seven to eight years before my husband retired several years before me.
I have already eaten my breakfast and am sipping decaf coffee; breakfast is typically a crunchy bowl of Kashi cereal, topped with sliced almonds for extra nutty flavor and nutrition. The recently updated Kashi cereal boxes caught my eye with a list of marvelous action words that I’ll use for themes for Another Way for the next 10 weeks. These are: Rise, Play, Spark, Flow, Crush, Defy, Love, Wander, Shine and Go. “Go” is the biggest word in the graphic design of their list. I hope to probe what these powerful words can mean for our lives. Of course the “Go” here with this fiber-filled cereal can definitely help to keep you “regular” if you get my drift. (Sorry if that is too much information.)
At this age, getting up in the morning is a blessing in itself. In our teen years, we may not appreciate the gift of waking up. I remember sleeping until noon after a slumber party; or talking into the wee hours of the morning with a date about so many delicious things which kept us from saying goodnight or goodbye. And then sleeping in Saturday morning.
Especially in our working years, the morning bell comes all too soon and we long to snooze just another five or 10 minutes. So I count it a profound privilege to have reached my retirement years and welcome the opportunity to sleep in a bit. But I still love the early morning hours for quiet thinking, reading, and yes — writing.
Poet and prolific author Maya Angelou added new depth and beauty to the power of the word “rise” with her popular poem, “Still I Rise,” about overcoming injustice and prejudice, especially in light of black history and issues that still confront us today. Angelou is said to have loved writing in the mornings. I’m happy for the clarity of thought that often comes with the break of day, when you see things in a new light. I often feel empowered and energized with new thoughts in the morning — that sometimes need correction or tweaking later in the day. I know others who feel that way about the evening or nighttime — that their best creativity or imagination is sparked by the evening hours. It takes all types to make the world go around, right?
The word “rise” also makes me recall the baptismal ritual in the church of my youth. In my church we kneeled on the floor and were baptized as the pastor poured a small amount of water on our heads. I can still hear our pastor intoning after each baptism, “I give you my hand, arise. As Christ was raised from the dead, so now you shall also rise to walk in newness of life.”
Perhaps that’s another way to think of the blessing we have to rise to another day. We are alive! We have another day to do the best we can, to help others, to be kind, to accomplish the tasks that we set out to do.
So rise! And now I must see to my other tasks, including making my bed and morning exercise. Thank you, Lord, to see a new day.
Comments or questions? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.