My mother used to wake up my sister and me by singing, “Oh, I hate to get up in the morning (3x)..it’s so nicer to stay in bed.” Then she would open the venetian blinds. Lately I’ve been echoing these words as day after day Superstorm Sandy brought dreary weather to Cleveland. I once heard we should spring out of bed as though it were on fire. These dark mornings the bed has been more like quicksand, sucking me in. So I’m generating some thoughts to motivate me. First of all, I’m still alive after a night of sleep, called the “little death.” Good! A new day stretches before me. What nice surprises will it hold? (I believe in self-fulfilling prophecy. Thinking positively results in positive events.) Blessed Charles de Foucauld had a wonderful attitude worth imitating. He used to pray, “Lord, one more day to love you!”
Our traditional convent morning prayer begins, “O my God, I awake to praise you!” When I pray the morning offering prayer, my whole day— everything I do, everything that happens to me, joys as well as sorrows,—becomes a sacrifice, a gift for God. I can also put the day to good use by offering it for a particular intention, like help for the people suffering from the devastation Sandy wreaked. (That’s why it’s important that we teach children this prayer.)
As I gradually come to, I quickly review the agenda for the day. If it holds some challenge, such as a dreaded meeting, a difficult assignment, or a distasteful duty, more than ever I’m tempted to stay in bed. In this case, it helps to recall a favorite quotation of Cleveland’s Bishop Pilla: “Lord, nothing will happen today that you and I can’t handle.” I do believe in the divine indwelling. God will be with me and grace will see me though the next hours.
All of these thoughts help shift my response to the alarm clock from “Good Lord, it’s morning” to “Good morning, Lord.”
What thoughts have you find helpful in setting the right tone for your day first thing in the morning?