When I woke up this morning, I felt how “cold” it had gotten over night. It was a late March morning and the temperature outside had dropped to 48 degrees-- which is cold for us here in Florida!
Usually, I walk my dog Joy first thing in the morning along the shore of Tampa Bay to watch the sun rise. I hadn't been able to do it the last two days though because it had been raining. I was looking forward to my walk but it was so cozy and warm in bed that I decided to stay in bed and just have a cup of hot tea to warm up.
Then I remembered the prayer “Awakening” that I say every morning:
This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.—Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
I asked myself what would make me rejoice and be glad during the day? Would it be staying in bed and drinking a hot cup of tea and then getting up to work on my retreat preparations? Or would it be getting up, putting on some warm clothes, taking a hot cup of tea with me and walking in the beautiful cool weather, probably seeing a gorgeous sunrise? After all, we don't have that many cold days in Florida.
I didn’t have to think long! Of course I realized it would be the later. I would come home refreshed, my body would be completely awake, my spirit would be rejoicing and my emotions would be glad.
And that is what I did! I walked briskly in the cool breeze, saw a beautiful sunrise and when I came home, the 64 degrees in my home felt really warm and comfortable. I didn’t even have to raise the temperature in my home but just put on a warm woolen sweater. My walk was not only good for me and Joy, but also for the environment and my energy bill! Now THAT is practicing the presence of God!
Kent Nerburn wrote in his beautiful book Small Graces,
“Now is the moment when I must pause and lift my heart—now, before the day fragments and my consciousness shatters into a thousand pieces. For this is the moment when the senses are most alive, when a thought, a touch, a piece of music can shape the spirit and color of the day… What is needed is only a pausing of the heart so the spirit can take wing and be lifted toward the infinite.” (Kent Nerburn, Small Graces, 1998, p.17-18)
I believe that I am letting my spirit connect with God’s spirit within me when I pause every morning before I am fully awake and pray the Awakening prayer. When I wrote the prayer I chose the verb “awakening” rather than “waking up” because if I start “my waking up” with prayer, I am not just waking up from a physical night’s sleep but also awakening from my spiritual dormancy – and we are all spiritually dormant in one way or another.
If I remember to start my day with the Awakening Prayer, I connect with the presence of God and I am more likely to stay present during the day. I also pray this prayer during the day, which keeps me grateful for all the blessings in my life and aware of the miracle of each day.
Here is what I would have missed if I had stayed in bed this morning. Have a blessed day everyone!