I wake to the bellowing baritone vibrato of, "I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold. . ." I'm not sure to which station our alarm is actually tuned, but apparently, the only people listening and awake at 4:53 a.m. are the grey-haired. I lie there another four minutes before sliding out from night's incubated warmth. My feet find slippers, and I tiptoe down the stairs while the house hums and slumbers deeply. Even the gerbils have burrowed quiet.
I turn on the kettle, grind coffee beans, and scan morning headlines. With every mechanical motion, I make my slow ascent to wakefulness. I catch the kettle in mid-whistle and fill the French press with the boiling water.
Full-throttle coherence is just four minutes away.
There's no magic to the morning, just a steady plodding through the routine. The coffee is finally fully steeped, and I settle into my chair. The liturgy of morning begins with a customary salutation.
Good morning, God.
It's good to be here.
In the quiet of this moment.
Ezekiel, James, the Psalms. The day's heading in my one-year Bible reads November 17. I'm a full two months behind. Not because I've neglected the chair. More because the work done there isn't something to be hurried or pressured by the demands of efficiency.
Seven days a week: coffee and chair. My heart makes its own ascent into wakefulness. Every morning, a rebirth.
January is the month we mete out resolve, narrate intentions, muster all of our energies for change. Edie, from lifeingraceblog calls it January and her bad self. It take it that she sees, as I do, the swagger of January.
Don't get me wrong. I love January. I love its invitation to reflect, its optimism for change. I fall hard every new year for the hearthrob promises of January.
But I believe something fundamentally important about change.
Change, like life, is incremental. Daily.
The transformation of my soul won't look like an episode from Extreme Home Makeover.
Renovation hangs on a daily commitment to show up, be present with God, and give over more of myself to be gutted. It's slow, painstaking work. Progress is not always evident.
Renovation will not be willed by resolution. It is NOT my work to be done. And yet it solicits my willingness. To attend, to absorb, renovation extending the invitation every day to be small and look up.
Renovation is excavation. Of desire and ambivalence, fear and reluctance.
Renovation hauls to the curb my stubborn refusal to see the goodness of God. It lays new habits of thanksgiving.
Almost three weeks into January, I'm reminded of the poverty of resolution and the promise of renovation.
Lasting change isn't the overhaul of a litany of New Year's resolutions. It's daily and incremental, slow and painstaking. It is never glamorous or microwaved.
But it is sure, and He who builds is good and strong.