It’s 5:25 in the morning, and I’ve been up all night. Anxiety,worry, anticipation, euphoria. . . those are the common causes of insomnia yet, without cause I have watched the city lights dim into the dawn.
I waited for sleep in frustration as I watched the clock tick 2:00 am, 3:40 am, 4:50 am. . . wading through the dark deeps of the night, the shifting shadows, the lonely hours in the quietness of my studio. I stared at the ceiling, then out my window, then at the clock, I tried to read and every now and again closed my eyes to no avail. Twenty minutes ago I decided it was too close to morning to sleep, that I might as well wait for the light and go for a run. . . and in the wait I decided to write again.
Sitting at my writing desk, I have the perfect view as the light peeks slowly at the tree line: only wisps of iridescent orange pushing through the purple-blues and leaving a turquoise splash as their back drop. “This here,” I thought, “is reason enough not to sleep.” This is just what my soul was in need of today, even above sleep: to see the sunrise. It’s been months since I have appreciated this event and I mean, really looked at it, pursued it as the whole reason for the morning. I have rushed past it, smiled at it before but haven’t sat in its growing light.
The sun has not yet come into view, but its effect has prevailed over the darkness. Already the sky is pale blue and I can see all the way to the mountains. The city is alive again, the whooshing of cars echoes from my windows–a sound that, after 7 months, I have found soothing. Plane engines purr across my roof and I look out unblinking, not wanting to miss the first sliver of the sun come from the tree tops, from behind the mountains, from around the other side of this spinning globe. Soon, the sunshine rains into my window warming everything, peering through clouds. And I think,
THIS is what new beginnings look like, this–what the light does–this is the root of joy.
Astounded and breathless, I feel as though I could cry. In the past I have woken early to see the sunrise and while those experiences are similar to now–with the waiting, bundled up atop a mountain, or a cliff, or on a fallen tree in a cornfield after a run breaking a smile and widening my sleepy eyes to see this new gift–this feels different. I have been awake since the sinking sun disappeared beyond buildings and bridges and houses. From sundown to sunup I have been dozing off and wide awake, completely still and restless, pacing about and staring, reading and writing, listening and watching. . .
Suddenly I remember how, as children, they teach us that for a long time people believed –as it seemed–that the sun moved around us. And yet, the truth had always been that the firm ground beneath us is what moves, spinning, closer and closer to the light. That the sun is even when we don’t see it.
Waiting for dawn has not only reminded me but shown me this to be true: that in a sense the sunlight had waited for me to come around. And I see, as sun rays flash my face and make me squint, that I’ve been waiting on God in these dark nights of my soul, nights when I have felt so alone and so far … across the world indeed from Him, when all the while He is though I can’t see Him and most of all, He has been waiting for me.