I’m really not a morning kind of guy. I’m much stronger in the evening, when I usually write my posts, answer emails and kick back to watch TV. In fact, I have always found it a little lonely in the morning. It’s dark, and for some reason, I have felt this way about mornings since my earliest recollections. I would much rather stay up, get everything done and then sleep in a little in the am.
I remember Dad waking me early to watch the Mercury astronauts as they were launched into space and it took something like that to blast me out of bed. Maybe it was because I had to go to school, and that was a chore for me because I was the heavy set geeky kid in the class. It’s true that in 8th grade I was the valedictorian, but that doesn’t hold much water with classmates who are more into ridicule and mean behavior than developing long-lasting friendships.
Years later, when our company was growing and we moved our headquarters to Keystone at the Crossing on the north side of Indianapolis, I thought it would set a bad example if I wasn’t there somewhat close to starting time, so I would make sure that I was in the office pretty early, although I wasn’t usually first.
And then, when Janet and I felt called that I should go to seminary, I found out that my first class was at 7:30 – in the morning…. no less. That meant that I had to get up at 5:30 am, get ready for school, including a suit and tie, jump in the car, drive an hour to school (hoping that I wouldn’t get caught in traffic) and be in my seat for Dr Branine’s opening lecture in theology. For three years my schedule never varied. Oh, there were different classes on theology but each class period started at 7:30 and ran until almost 9 am – for three solid years. Then off to Greek, that started 10 minutes later, Seminary Chapel after that, on to Hebrew 10 minutes after the end of chapel and then a late lunch.
If I had Baptist polity, church administration or any of the other classes on missions or how to run a church, those came after the lunch break. Now that might not sound all that daunting to you, but usually I had so much homework that I didn’t get to bed until about 2:30 am and it was a tough schedule on 3 hours sleep each night during the week. I tried to catch up on the week-ends, but it would have been unfair to Janet to rob time from her to do classwork. And so the schedule went for 3 years until I received my Masters of Divinity, and ultimately my Doctor of Ministry some time later.
When we sold the company, and I started to do more with the ministry initiatives, I changed my schedule a little. Now, I hold meetings in the morning and I try not to start too early. If I have an 8 or 8:30, that’s about as early I want to go, and not if I have to drive very far. I am still a night owl, and I don’t think that will ever change.
But when I am on the road, I always look forward to mornings – that’s right – I really do. When Janet is at home and I am traveling, I know that sometime around 7:30 am, I will get a call from her, opening with the words, “Good morning, my love….” Of course, I return the greeting. And by the way, that’s 7:30 wherever I am, not where she is. I can’t tell you how much nicer it is to get up to the sound of Janet’s voice than to the sound of an alarm clock. Now I hope you don’t think I am lazy, as I do set my alarm, but I miss Janet when I am on the road, and it helps me get off to a good start when I spend a few minutes with her on the phone before my day gets off and running. She feels the same way about me. Oddly, we rarely wake each other with this greeting at home – only when one of us is on the road and we have spent the night apart.
Thankfully, none of my clients like to get started before 9:00 am, so it works out perfectly for everybody. In fact, as I look back on it, I don’t know how I ever made it through three years of theology, or for that matter, how I ever got through grade school or high school, let alone university. Things are so much better now…. and most of the time, I will still go as late into the night as is necessary to get my work done…. I don’t like going to bed with things hanging.
Tonight, I am in Dallas, and as you have probably figured out by now, this post is a love letter to Janet; and I’m looking forward to her call in the morning. We’ll talk for a few minutes and then I’ll get ready to head back to the office here. It’s kind of a light day – I leave for DFW at 11:00 to catch a flight home leaving at 1:00 or so. I even got upgraded to first class so it shouldn’t be as uncomfortable as the ride down here late this morning as storms were passing through Texas and Oklahoma.
The Bible is chock full of important things that happened in the mornings as well. Christ went to pray in the morning, the Sanhedrin decided to hand Christ over to Pilate early in the morning, the sacrifices in the Old Testament happened early in the morning, the women discovered the empty tomb of Christ in the morning and many other important aspects of life in the ancient culture also occurred at dawn or soon thereafter.
The verse for tonight acknowledges the importance of the morning. In Lamentations 3:22-23, we are told, “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” My encouragement this evening is to let you know that your relationship with God renews every day, just like we are told in Scripture. And my prayer is that you will use the mornings, even if it isn’t the crack of dawn, to take a moment and thank God for another day and another opportunity to grow in your relationship with Him. Because He greets all of us the same way Janet and I greet each other – “Good morning, my love…” Grace and peace,