Poet Mary Oliver’s book Why I Wake Early, prompted me to ask myself the same question: “Why do I wake early?”
And the answer I stumbled upon within myself is, I don’t know, and yet I do.
I wake early so I can light a candle and place it in my window. Its light illuminates my darkness and, perhaps, the darkness of the world. The reverent glow flickering from quiet candlelight serves as a beacon for the birds who visit the feeder outside my sill. As they find morning nourishment, they feather simple joy upon my heart.
I wake early because when I do, I recall the miracle of my breath. I feel the beating of my heart. And my dog’s snoring at my feet becomes a choir.
I wake early because the morning quiet teaches me to trust my experience of ordinary sacredness. I name the lenses through which I view myself and others, and find the grace to let false gods go.
I wake early to receive the wisdom that dawn breathes into my heart, and to remember in the midst of my longing who I am and who I am not.
I wake early to remember that we are all created and formed in the image and likeness of Infinite Love, and that suffering is a necessary pathway to compassion.
I wake early because morning teaches me I don’t need to be right. I only need to be loving.
And in these moments of dawn’s unfolding, I experience Divinity touching humanity, and the Creator inviting me to become fully who I Am.
—brian j plachta
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.