I am not a “morning” person. Actually, I’ve never really been a fan of even talking about the early bird catching the worm. I like the phrase better of “the second mouse gets the cheese.” Think about it. I’ve said for years that I really like to get up at the crack of noon. The truth is, when I look at my sleep patterns, it’s easy to see that my REM sleep, where the dreams happen, occurs most of the time after 3am, and extends through 7am. It almost hurts physically when I have to awaken and move around and get up during that time.
“Why then would you do that?” you ask. Good question. Yes, I am now retired, and not tied to a work schedule, and especially with the pandemic, there is really no where to go. However, God with a bit of a divine comedy, managed to put me in a lifelong love with a gal who is very much an early riser. She is asleep by 9pm for sure each night, but she will get up raring to go at about 4:30 or 5:00am. Let me say that although it works for her, that is about the worst thing imaginable. The only time I want to get up that early is if I am going on a long trip and want to get two or three hours in before breakfast. Otherwise, please don’t do that to me. Please. Please…
One thing that did happen in the weeks before I retired, that has continued until today, is my taking on the job of being chauffeur for Cheri. I drive her to work, and pick her up from work, so that if it is raining or snowing or too hot or too cold, the car is perfectly at the right temperature and all she has to do after a long day is to sit back and enjoy the ride. What a nice husband she has, right? Here’s the catch: my dear wife doesn’t start work at 9am, or even at 8am. Since she starts seeing patients at 8am (most of the other providers get to work at 7:45), Cheri likes to be in her office by about 7:15. I’m not sure what she does, since she has already been up for more than two hours doing charts and getting her schedule all worked up, but that means I drive her right around 7am. That means I need to get up at least to sort of wake up, and have a cup of coffee. That means I get up at 6am. Granted, she only works four days/week, so I do get to stay in bed for three of the days, but it still makes early days.
Now – let’s lay on top of that horrible activity the fact that it is now October, and at the end of the month, very far away from the Autumnal equinox, when there is supposedly the same amount of daylight and dark. We are screaming toward the winter solstice, and it is even now dark at 6am. Not dawn, not “breaking of the morning,” with slivers of the first rays of the sun making its way into the world. No – it is just stinking dark. Add to that the reality that most every day we have in October up north is a cloudy day, and it is DARK dark in the bleak pre-dawn hours.
You may sense a slight tinge of complaint in my writing. You would be correct again. It seems to me that “dark” is God’s way of saying “Go back to sleep – your day has yet to begin…” In fact, you could say that getting up while it is still dark is an offense to God’s care for us. God wants us to sleep, don’t you think? I mean, when we ask someone how they slept the night before, and they answer that they didn’t sleep well at all, that’s something to be pitied and feel bad about for the person. How would it sound to ask the same question, and have someone answer, “Oh – I slept great, but the alarm I set made me get up two hours before I wanted to arise, and cut the guts out of my dreaming time, so now my whole sense of bearing is a bit wonky…”
There is, however, one beautiful shining ray of hope in this dark, dreary time of late October. In three days, a lovely and joyful event occurs, at least for us in the United States. We will say goodbye and good riddance to Daylight Savings Time, and finally return to the “standard” time, the way God intends it to be. (I like to think God is supportive of the things I really love, like corn and sleeping in…) Anyway, on Sunday morning, we wonderfully and mysteriously gain an entire hour in the middle of the night, as we “fall back” on November 1st, the first Sunday of November. That means that the 6am wake up on Monday morning, will feel like a 7am wake up, as the daylight savings 6am gets pushed back to 5am, deep in the middle of my REM sleep. See how wonderful that is?
As great and good as that is, there are two unfortunate consequences. One, is that the daylight that exists at 6PM each day, as the sun finally sets, will be actually 5pm. That’s pretty early for sunset, and indeed, by the time the day light is at it shortest in December, we will see nighttime begin at about 4:30pm. One thing to realize, living up north, however, is that since the daytime highs are beginning to sit at about 30 degrees, no one is going to enjoy relaxing on the back patio, wrapped up in parkas and blankets. We move into indoor time, and so it doesn’t matter how dark it is late afternoon. Just turn on another light. The other consequence, however, is that Cheri will start falling asleep, not at 9pm, but closer to 7:45 or 8pm. This will also mean she will still get up very early, which is not a great thing.
And so the world continues on its rotation and revolution, with or without our input. I suppose part of living intentionally in the world is learning how, eventually to live that way within the confines and structures that we find ourselves in. Even if sometimes they seem to pinch our style or our comfort in the world, most of them are not horrible or evil. They just are. And just as it really does no good to shout at the sun to rise earlier or stay up later, it seems like more of our good energy could be spent living hopefully and joyfully, and lovingly in this world. So I get up at 6am. There’s still time for a nap this afternoon….
Word for the day: caterwise. Pronounced CAT-ur-wise. It became a word meaning the same, but believed to have come from another source. It came from the French, quatre, which means “four,” and later was substituted for cater, as it stood for the four dots on a die, or the card in the card deck. As it became a verb (not the one that means to supply food for), it came to mean moving along a diagonal line from one corner of the “four” to the other corner. If you walk diagonally, you are actually walking caterwise.
Now, if you place something diagonally from something else, it is also caterwise, or cater-ways from the first piece. Later it came to be known as “cater-cornered” and then as the original French was lost, people thought it referred to felines somehow, and so they called it “kitty-corner,” or catty-corner. Going on a little further, when something is “catawampus,” it also means out of line, or cockeyed, but usually with a negative connotation. Things can be kitty-corner, but not catawampus. Get it straight…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.