[Note: because of a continuous interest from our fellow Journeyers, we are dedicating Fridays to materials from our photo series Journey Visions, our partnerships for Journey Everywhere, and from fellow Journeyers. For Friday features, we welcome photos, videos, and most other materials, even those that may be religiously opinionated, regardless of religion.]
The quiet light of the morning was a time I usually missed. My heartfelt plea to friend and foe was, “I beg you please do not disturb my last unconsciousness of the night.” I was so glad that my family understood. The last good moments of golden slumber uninterrupted.
Who would rise earlier than needed? But my slumber hadn’t been as restful as it should have been.
I had a suspicion that my lack of restful sleep was rooted in restless emotions. Sleeping longer didn’t take away my restlessness.
I had tried dedicating Friday evenings to worship of the Lord by lighting candles, saying a blessing and praying. It was a twilight zone Sabbath done just before the sun’s light went out -- and amazing things happened.
I noticed that I felt more restful and had better downtime with my family. I marveled at the paradox: the time I took out from fulfilling responsibilities actually made me more able to accomplish them. I wondered what would happen during my work day, the source of a lot of my worries, if I took time off before working. Would the paradox of less time to rest for work result in better work?
Practical minded, I also drew reassurance from Ben Franklin’s ‘early to rise’ spiel along with similar Biblical variations. I committed myself to a weekly sabbatical during quilight, i.e. the quiet light of a pre-sunrise day.
I got sixty minutes less sleep on that day than I did on the other six days.
At the beginning, what I found was the same thing you’ll likely find: grogginess. Then, I noticed a change.
My whole ritual of splashing water from the kitchen faucet onto my face, opening our crusty window, making and pouring a cup of coffee, and staring at stillness through my window -- it grew on me, little by little. As darkness thinned, my dourness waned.
I started to hear music in mind as if it was coming through the windowsill. I rehearsed the old stand-by of hopeful dawning, “Morning Has Broken.” I also played out in my mind a hymn or two that were new in my repertoire like "Message in a Bottle” and “I Can See Clearly Now.” When I closed with “The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases,” I felt that its sentiment of “new every morning” had it right.
When my cell phone vibrated at 5 AM, I soon felt like I was rising with the sun. Jesus’ resurrection became much more personal and empowering to me for the rest of the day.
Joe Little resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife and three teens. Sometimes, he takes his quilight in Central Park. Raised a Baptist, educated as a Lutheran and fellowshipped in a Moravian youth group in North Carolina, he currently attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church.