Every morning I get up around 5 am, sometimes before, sometimes after, and walk the dog. More often than not, I do it with some annoyance. My bed is warm, and it’s cold outside. On mornings like today, the rain adds a particularly annoying edge to the chill. During that walk, though, I catch glimpses of my world, and it often turns into a moment of prayer….I admit that it is fleeting — a flash of the bright stars against the still night — the rustle of leaves as a small breeze blows by. The sky caught on the surface of the lake so still that it reflects, perfectly, what I don’t look up to see. The beauty in the tranquility at that hour, which is truly darkest before the dawn.
The morning is the presence of God all around me, found in symbols I know and speak to me unconsciously. The light of the stars, candles burning brightly to Light the way. The Holy Spirit blowing through. The Hand of creation in the animals beginning to stir. And then suddenly, as a dragonfly skates across the surface of the lake and breaks the reflection, I go inside and return to the chores and morning routine.
Like the father in Robert Hayden’s poem, “Those Winter Sundays,” I find myself channeling the truth I felt in that moment into “love’s austere and lonely offices.” Putting into action the labor and duty that accompanies sacrifice and love.