The Beginnings of Every Ordinary Day

“Holy cow!” my father said. “You must have gotten up early!”

I had just told him that I had already driven to the airport and back to pick up my husband from a business trip.

“No earlier than usual,” I told my father.

“What time do you get up?” he asked.

“5 o’clock,” I answered.

I didn’t tell him that he also gets up most mornings right around 5. I hear him on the monitor I have in my room because I worry about him falling or needing assistance.

He needs more and more assistance. The other day he called to me, “Sally? Sally?” with the door cracked open. When I checked on him, he was half-dressed and couldn’t think what to do next. But that was at 9 AM, around his usual time for getting dressed.

At 5 AM, on most days, I hear him get up to use the bathroom, but he goes back to bed. I get up, too, and go downstairs to make coffee.

The next 2 – 3 hours are blissfully mine.

Tuga and coffee in the pre-dawn

I read. My pile of books changes with the seasons.  Right now, I’m reading a Lenten devotional from She Reads Truth,

(rabbits not included)

The New Christian Year, daily readings following a liturgical calendar, compiled by Charles Williams, (my friend, Africa, who is learning to rebind books would be appalled at the white adhesive tape I used when it started falling apart on me),

Blaise Pascal’s Pensées (a pensée a day keeps the mind at play, I tell myself),

my Bible (5 Psalms and the chapter of Isaiah I’m memorizing),

and my prayer book. (Usually I have Lancelot Andrewes help me out here, but I’m giving him a break for Lent.)

I pray. The list grows longer and longer of the people I pray for by name. It’s rare when I cross someone off, but Antonin Scalia came off when he died, and Richard Hanna, my congressman, came off when he left office. Those girls kidnapped by Boko Haram? I chose one name off that list, and until I see her name in a follow-up story — and I frequently check — I’ll continue to pray for her and her family. Friends and family stay on my list forever. If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that your name is there.

I moodle. Brenda Ueland defines moodling as aimless dawdling. I find it essential for my mental health.

Something about letting thoughts swirl and settle sets everything right.

Lancelot Andrewes has a prayer that one commentator deemed incomplete, but I find it the perfect way to end my beginning every day.

In every imagination of my heart
In the words of my mouth
In the works of my hands
In the ways of my feet

I give it all over to Christ and ask His blessing on those things — my imaginations, my words, my works, my ways — and then head into another ordinary day.

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9 thoughts on “The Beginnings of Every Ordinary Day

    • Have you read Pascal?
      First, he’s brilliant.
      Second, he’s genius.
      Third, he applies his logical math mind to spiritual problems and it makes me think in new ways about old things, or in old ways about new things — either way, I often feel like it’s mental gymnastics.

    • I should add, Laura, that Pascal was someone I had often seen quoted but had never actually read, so I decided to read Pensees. I quickly learned that it wasn’t a book to devour, but more to nibble and savor. That’s why I just read a little every morning.

  1. The state of the book reminded me of my mother. When she was still living in Holland she worked in a book binding factory for a time, and she never forgot what she learned doing that. She brought those skills back with volunteering at the school library, repairing books beautifully.

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