My two favorite time slots of the day are the very early morning, because the very early morning signals potentiality and opportunity, and the very late evening, because the very late evening signals reflection and growth.
It is always a pleasure when I get to wake up early, just as the world begins to stir and prepare for the hustle and bustle of the day. This morning, the pink and orange rays from the sunrise penetrated my window shades and awoke me from my slumber. I walked down from my bed, made a cup of tea, and spent some unknown amount of minutes, gazing out my kitchen window. This morning, the soft, untouched layer of newly planted snow glistened in the morning glow. In the springtime, I am sometimes greeted by the melodic prancing of our white horse, gliding up and down the fence line, showing off her beautiful, flowing tail. In the summertime, it is the chirping of the song birds, and the gentle swaying of the pine needles that calms the horizon.
I love the very early morning, because it signals potentiality and opportunity. When I drive to school in the morning, I get excited thinking about all the potential learning opportunities we are about to embark upon–analysis, thesis statements, vocabulary, work ethic, personal responsibility, forgiveness–and the potential opportunities I have to touch lives. When I work at the golf course during the summertime, I pull into the parking lots just as the maintenance crews are just coming off the greens, and I get excited, thinking about all the influential people I am about to encounter, and the laughs I am about to enjoy. On the Saturday mornings I spend practicing or competing with my dance team, I often what kind of magic we have the opportunity to make that day.
I love these moments of stillness in the very early mornings, because they are between me, nature, and God. I get excited, wondering what kind of opportunities I have to learn, to grow, to touch other people’s lives, to have my life touched during the chaotic hours that are just about to begin.
And, then my day starts. I have to take a shower, get dressed, make my lunch, race out the door. I bark orders, fill out reports, respond to e-mails, collect homework. I make copies, grade essays, respond to more e-mails, scan my receipts. I attend meetings, read articles, write lesson plans, and respond to even more e-mails. I go to practice, run errands, pay my rent, listen to my voicemails, respond back to my text messages.
And, in those late hours of the evening, I finally return home. I love these spaces of time, because they signal reflection and growth. My days are plagued with business, with conversation, with to-do’s and tasks and things to complete, and it is not until these evening moments that I am finally able to take it all in. I do my very best thinking at night. I first think about all of my interactions with all the people I encountered throughout the day–were they planted to teach me a lesson, and if so, what is that lesson? did I do something to break the relationship, that I can mend tomorrow? did they present me with a problem that I am supposed to play a role in solving?
Then, I think about how I am going to make small changes in my reactions to situations, my perceptions of the world, and my interactions with those people in the days to come. Usually, these changes are themed. For a while, these changes focused on my unhealthy relationship with money. Money was always a source of contention when I was growing up, and always served as a business transaction between my family. So, I made myself buy the more expensive jeans that weren’t on the clearance rack. I quit a job that was stressing me out. I offered to do nice things for other people, and insisted on no monetary reward. Sometimes, these themes might include where I see technology ruining my life, and when I need to start putting away my cellphone, or issues of grace, and who I need to offer forgiveness to tomorrow, or about humility, where I might have been too prideful, or merely just about how I see Victorian ideals infiltrating our society today. Recently, my reflection has focused around power and control, and how I saw myself throughout the day trying to unethically and wrongfully, but unconsciously, manipulate situations to end in my favor, and what I will do differently tomorrow. While split-second decisions and immediate reactions reveal the underlying infrastructures of our character, it is within these late night evening hours of reflection that we can re-build and re-structure, to set new goals, create new schemas, repair our relationships.
Yes, my two favorite spaces of time are the very early morning, for the potentiality and opportunity, and the very late evening, for the moments of reflection and growth.