I woke up at a ridiculously early hour. Six thirty or thereabouts. This might not have seemed so early, except I couldn't fall asleep last night, not until close to two, maybe even a little later. Matthew was out early, with the start of a cold and a shot of Nyquil. Dory nursed and fell asleep before midnight. But I- I, who thought, at eleven thirty when I had wrapped my last present, had attached my last Santa tag, I'd be asleep before I even made it to the bedroom- I sat in bed and couldn't close my eyes. Instead I knit a Christmas hat for Dory (a sort of hybrid elf's hat/stocking cap) and I watched Friends at midnight and then one of those Lara Croft movies after that and I knit the whole time, waiting for exhaustion to overcome me. The hat won first. I felt no urge to stop, to lie down, to close my eyes. I felt... excited. I felt exactly like I felt when I was eight and still entirely believed in Santa Claus and reindeer and the little story they always played on the news about tracking Santa's course through the world.
I woke up at six thirty this morning and the feeling had not subsided. Just like when I was eight waking up the next morning and feeling that fuzzy anticipation steal over me. I remember I would lie in my bed, this unexplained sensation of enthusiasm moving through me, not sure why, until bam! I remembered. From that point on I was up and going and lemme at that tree and the rush that followed for the next hour or so could have carried me through days of sleeplessness.
My adult mind did not propel me out of bed like my kid heart did. No, it spoke gently of small to-do's still to be done, getting a jump start on the day, the promise of arriving on time. As all my mornings begin0, three dogs of boundless energy hurled themselves around me as I threw on a coat and shuffled outside with them, leaving a sleeping husband and baby inside. By this time it was a little before seven, and standing outside in our front yard, while they did the tangled leash tango, a little voice whispered in my brain "thank you for this baby, thank you for everything, thank you." I understood immediately. Thank you for this baby, thank you for this little one, who doesn't yet understand the day, but who one day will. Thank you for what is to come, letters to write, cookies to leave out, explanations of a baby in a manger, of oil that burned for eight days straight, explanations of the spirit of this month, the feeling of holiness and mystical and magical and Love that permeates this time of year when we're not lost in gift getting, grocery shopping, traffic jams, bad weather, delays, one more damned party...
I imagine, I'm no different than most people. I could look at a lot of what's not going right, fear around jobs and economy and will it get worse and how will we make it... Except I stood outside in my pajamas and coat, watching the fingers of dawn separate first pink then yellow then blue over the mountains that surround this little valley in which we live and I felt absolute joy. All those thoughts of what is to come, they were of a future, my future, a future I know is even brighter than that perfect, foolish moment. I stood still, tears in my eyes, hugging my arms around myself, and whispering thank you, thank you, thank you. It was exactly like a scene from a movie or novel, where a character "gets it" at some crazy moment, feels for one second, "I know what God thinks and it is GOOD" those moments that send goose bumps through the viewer and cause critics to role their eyes.
In the next few days, I'll write about what Christmas brought, the physical manifestation of love and excitement and joy. Already I have stories to tell over how blessed I am, the remarkable people in my life who take such good care of me. I'll post pictures of Dory and report on the spoils of her first Christmas conquest. I'll let you know how Matthew fared, if he beat down the cold or the cold beat down him (right now, hearing the change in his breathing this morning and knowing him, I'm betting on Matthew). But this morning, all I can think to write about is standing outside, for about four minutes, in the early morning chill, sleep still in my eyes, and knowing with absolute certainity that Well Being abounds for all of us. There is a sleeping baby girl in my house and she is a miracle. There is a husband who is kind and generous and thoughtful and he is a miracle. There are parents who are healthy and thriving and love me and they are miracles. There are friends who are warm and funny and they are miracles. There are miracles running through every second of my life, of this I am sure, and as my dictionary says miracles are "considered to be the work of a divine agency," how can I not trust, how can I not KNOW that the future coming will far outshine the past?
I know God is in everything, in us, in the details. I know that. But I can't help but think, He's especially in the sunrise. He's especially in that early morning moment of promise, that thrill of what's to come. That good morning kiss, that person buying coffee for a friend, that sunlight breaking over the trees, that school bus leaving earlier and earlier every year. I think that must be His time to revel, to soak everything in, and if occasionally I'm lucky enough to be up and standing outside in my pajamas, three silly dogs dancing around me and sharing in that moment with Him, how can I not whisper thank you, thank you, thank you?