I'm at my job a few minutes before 5 am. The morning sun is still way off, nowhere to be seen. "What are you doing here Jose?!" asks my manager surprised. "You are off today!"
I'm very confused. I go and see the schedule, and indeed, I'm off today. An odd synergy of gladness and anger is brewing inside me.
I see my new schedule, and it shows that I only work afternoons. I return home, glad that I can continue resting.
"Yay! No more waking up early! Goodbye 4 am!"
Well, as we say in my country for good news that prove to be false, "great joy of donkey!" Because the next week, the opposite, dreaded news are received: I work only mornings now.
"Are you freaking kidding me?!"
That was all I could say.
I love mornings. Unfortunately I almost always sleep through them. I guess you could say I'm a night owl.
Waking up at 4 am for a night owl is quite possibly a form of corporal punishment, a horrendous practice that is asked of us only in special, extraordinary circumstances.
I felt however, the need and desire to embrace this new change. Perhaps there is a blessing here. I love mornings after all, and experiencing every early morning might be a good thing.
I slowly started to adjust my internal clock by gradually waking up earlier and earlier on my days off. Slowly but surely, my body is adjusting to the change. Nowadays I usually wake up at 6 am.
We tend to see early rising as a form of virtue, productivity and diligence.
I don't think early rising is good in and of itself, nor a religious practice by which we gain spiritual growth. But it can be an open door for many blessings.
We are told in Mark 1:35 that Jesus rose very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and went to a desolate place to pray.
Early rising makes sense in a society where life starts in the morning. If there is any virtue in early rising is simply this: time of solitude with God before our activities begin.
If our early rising is not accompanied by this time of solitude, then it is devoid of its most sacred potential.
It is the most essential and therefore important part of our day. It is our first date with our Creator. It shouldn't be negotiated, nor should there be a commandment of it either.
It should come first as a practice, then a necessity, to finally arrive at the precious moment of grace: a fulfillment of a desire.
So, if this is not part of our routine, why not make it so? Why not try to wake up one hour earlier than we are accustomed, and dedicate that hour in solitude with God?
Imagine our days if we start them out with God!
This has been the great blessing in disguise for me. It is not experiencing every sunrise while birds tweet away. It is not seeing the calming view of a world asleep and slowly rising, even though these blessings are still appreciated.
It is simply spending time with my Father, before my activities begin.