I am not one of those people who gets up early and likes it.
However, I've grown to see the broad appeal of getting up before the day gets moving, before the chatter and movement of others captures my attention, before the buzz begins.
In my house, "early" is relative. When the menfolk stayed up until (apparently) 6AM teaching their elder the finer points of (I think) Halo, it becomes quite easy to get up "early", if "early" simply means "before everyone else".
That's how I roll.
So, I've been up "early" for quite some time now, and the house is quiet, save for the rumble of the washer and dryer and the low, buzz of the mindless drivel that passes for The Today Show these days.
(Is it just me, or is everything changing? Wasn't there a time when The Today Show offered actual news and information, instead of a pointless review of what's hip and cool on Instagram, lousy pick-up lines from One Direction songs and matching "Thunder Shirts" and "slippers" for dogs?)
(Apparently I am overly fond of the "quotation marks" this morning. Sorry.)
Anyway, I digress. I'm up early, which means before everybody else, and so far that means that I've enjoyed most of the Tanzanian coffee all by myself, folded two loads of laundry by myself and marveled (by myself) at the small box turtle crawling with incredible focus through the back yard. Or maybe he was swimming; the ground is so wet, it's hard to tell.
(I've never seen so much rain in all my life. My tomatos are drowning, the driveway is flooding and everything is wet.)
And this blog post is all over the place....
Anyway, I'm up. I'm officially on vacation, which is more a state of mind for me than an actual vacation. Honestly, I still worked yesterday, answering email and uploading elements for Sunday's service and gathering information for small group stuff. I worked, but in my head, I was on vacation, and so it didn't bother me one bit. I'm headed south in a few days to get my toes in the sand, soak up some sun, read a few books and commune with my favorite people in the world (save one gorgeous redhead who is too far away and otherwise occupied, which causes me no end of distress, of which I'm working hard to Just Let Go). Everything is fractured for vacation this year.
In fact, that's a good metaphor for the moment. Fractured. My family is spread out, busy, living; most of us in some state of brokenness as we adjust to changing jobs, growing businesses, new life stages, classes, break ups, engagements, physical endurance challenges. Lots of stretching and changing, and perhaps that is a better metaphor. Fracture implies a shattering of sorts, a negative thing that carries some amount of sorrow. It seems we are stretching, and with that we're seeing a few broken places where things just can't hold.
It bothers me greatly that we can't all be together for our annual, traditional family vacation. Everybody is pulled in so many different directions...and things are changing.
It bothers me greatly that, for the first time, I'm meeting up with my brother and my parents as a 50-year old woman (yes, I know - GET OVER IT ALREADY. But this is my blog and my thought process, so THERE YOU GO.) It just feels so...weird, to be that age around my family, who have known me for all of those years.
It bothers me greatly that I wanted to lose 20 pounds and be in better cardio shape before the beach this year, but that I only wanted it in my head, and didn't do anything about it.
It bothers me that we're not going to the same place this year; that, for the first time in over a decade, we won't be at Emerald Isle. I won't walk that same beach this year, meeting up with my Maker for long conversations and contemplation. I'm afraid the new place won't match up, and I mourn the loss of the familiar.
That's it, I guess; the change. It's everywhere, all around, and I'm slightly frightened of the things of which I know nothing, wondering where to place the familiar, unsure of what shape will be taken by the new.
And yet it's all relative, isn't it? "Early" used to mean "as the sun rose", nursing babies and spoon-feeding toddlers and toys all over the floor and The Today Show as the only adult conversation in my life, surrounding by SarahShannonSydniDanielDavid. It was challenging, then, and most days I found it impossible to contemplate a different rhythm of life.
But it's here.
It's different now. There are slower cups of coffee and carefully plodding turtles. There are new beaches and young adults and a teenaged niece and accumulated wisdom. There are men who love my daughters, grafting themselves into our family with their presence and their affection.
I am here, moving in the fluid waters of a grace-filled rhythm filled with a new batch of contradictions. And the underlying pulse, the memories of all that has come before; it is grounding me, it is mine and it makes me what I am here, now, in this new place where I am the one up early, waiting, holding the ground steady while my children come behind me.
And suddenly - or, honestly, slowly - I get it.
I get it.
And I am filled with gratitude.