The day will arrive
“It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot…In a few moments the day will arrive…For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice.” – Max Lucado
Many years ago my friend Gloria, who has been a psychotherapist for more than 40 years, told me that people with depression often have the hardest time in the morning. At first that surprised me, since sunlight has always lifted my moods so effectively. But when I stopped to think about it, it made sense that morning would be a big obstacle to anyone who feels despondent.
As far back as I can remember, mornings have been quite difficult for me, and never more than now. The bed is such a quiet, restful retreat. The business and busyness of the day loom, intimidating me with the challenges of complex tasks and the drudgery of simple but unappealing ones. If I awaken early (which happens often) I have a bad tendency to start ruminating on all the things that are worrying me. Almost every day, right before I get out of bed, I begin the day with a simple prayer: God, please help me.
Usually I am able to get myself going and shake off the doom-and-gloom apprehension, but some mornings my crankiness carries right into the daily routine, affecting not only me, but Matt and now, Jeff. (Before retirement, Jeff left for work so early that Matt and I were still in bed. I bet there are some days he wishes he still did that.) 😀
It’s a curious fact– or maybe not so curious– that the first few minutes of the day seem to exert a powerful influence on the remaining 16-18 waking hours. It could be my imagination, but those frustrating days when everything seems to go wrong almost always begin with my “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” as the old saying used to go.
I’ve developed some coping mechanisms which seem to help, beginning with my brief but heartfelt prayer. Tea has been a wonderful thing to look forward to each day. I also give myself a head start by preparing as many things in advance as I can the night before, laying out clothes and checking Matt’s daily log and packing most of his lunch. If I have to check his Coumadin level in the morning, I set the meter out so I won’t forget.
Instead of turning the alarm clock off, I might leave the classical music playing as I make the beds. Some mornings I will step outside on the deck and listen to the birds. In the summer it often feels deliciously cool before the heat of the day has set in, and it’s almost impossible to feel dejected when one is surrounded by green trees and singing birds.
Lucado is right; each morning we have a choice to make. However good or bad things may be, we can make them better or worse by the choices we make about how we approach the coming hours. Getting off on the wrong foot won’t necessarily derail the entire day, but it almost always goes better if we resolve early to recognize the day as the blessing it truly is.
Are mornings ever hard for you? If so, do you have any secrets for getting through those first few minutes with a good attitude?