My alarm rang this morning. I’ve mostly done away with alarms in my life, working from home, sleeping until I wake. The closest thing to an alarm I have most days is the regular bell schedule that reaches our back porch from the school just a block away. But, this morning my alarm rang at 6:30 and I groaned, stared up into the cold white ceiling, pulled my blankets more snugly around myself, felt the brisk morning air that has finally graced us now that it is almost November and got up. Yesterday I woke to singing, the closing hymn of morning prayer rang through my head all day yet my initial thought was the memory that I was supposed to be leading morning prayer this week and I forgot, slept luxuriously late instead so this morning I arose, collected books around me, lit a candle and squinted into the dark as we sang, “The Lord is my Light” to the dawn.
I’m not entirely sure why we do this, what it means to us. This is the spiritual discipline part of it I think. Doing it without entirely understanding why, but my take on religious life is usually an experiential one so this is hard for me. It seems based on some abstract belief in God. One of the understandings of my past year, however, has been that it doesn’t matter much what I believe. What is is and most days I believe that God is, but God will be or not regardless of what I believe, so mostly I stick to my own experience and I have experienced God in silence, in worship, in the words of scripture, in the digging of gardens and the hands of others, in the trees growing back from a fire in the mountains and the noisy bustle of birds in the morning and I have never liked missing it, missing out. God could be there this morning. I could experience that. I don’t want to miss the chance while I lay in bed to meet the Divine. Those encounters can carry me through long months of darkness. They are precious food unlike that which comes home in grocery bags each week and I need that nourishment. I long after it enough to set the alarm so as to be there in case it is present. Early Friends, I once read, went to worship every week with the full expectation that it would transform their lives. Transform their lives. I guess that’s how I want to live, with the full expectation that showing up, that following a discipline will literally transform my life.