Morning and Evening and All That’s Between

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2)

My mornings are full of sounds.  My alarm and then my snooze button and then my alarm again.  The whistle of the kettle for the french press.  The microwave announcing its undercooked oatmeal.  The neighbors upstairs rushing out the door.  The cars honking at each other for no discernable reason.  My own irritated thoughts as I fight traffic and the mirror and that last stubborn grip of sleep that almost always hangs on until lunch time.

Mornings should be quiet, peaceful – like being up before the sun let’s you hear the whisperings of a waking creation.  But instead they’re just busy and rushed and loud.  Nobody’s whispering.

My dad has always said his favorite moment of the day is the first second he lays down at night.  That moment when you’ve made the final twist into that perfect jack-knife, side-sleeping position and you close your eyes and try to shut out the day.  But I find myself, no matter how comfortable, trying to fall asleep to thoughts of what suit I’ll wear the next day or how I wish I hadn’t had so many chocolate chips after dinner and hope that my six hours of sleep is enough time to settle those ping-ponging thoughts in my brain.

And then I wake up and start again.  And so it goes and goes.

Of course, there’s everything that happens in between the two.  The commuting and going to meetings and responding to emails and sifting through spreadsheets.  The texting and catching up with friends and making grocery lists and shuffling papers.  All the cloudy stuff that somehow fills a day without warning and steadily, yet indiscernibly changes your life in tiny, unremarkable ways.

Sandwiched by a hurried morning and noisy-brained falling into bed.

I’m generally a creature of habit.  I love routine. I love its safety.  I once went an entire year in college eating the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day (excluding vacations and hangovers).  I always part my hair on the left, always get gas on Sundays, and eat peanut butter with the exact same spoon every morning.  My alarm is always set for 5:13 but I never get up until 5:34.  I get the same drink at Starbucks, I wear the same suit every Friday, and I have a sweet potato for dinner nearly 4 nights a week.

Overall I am complacently habitual and habitually complacent.

But this morning I realized that I was coming up on a year out of grad school and the thought got stuck in my throat.  I am 24, just started using anti-aging cream before bed, and suddenly feel alarmingly in danger of routine-ing my way through the rest of my life.  Of a noisy moment in the morning, an exhaustive moment at night, and a thousand cloudy moments in between not worthy even of mention.

I was driving to work, wearing a suit I bought at Macy’s and pantyhose with a run in them, and suddenly couldn’t shake the image of myself doing this same thing, making this same drive, twenty years from now.  And it made me sick because there are so many hundreds of things I want to do before then that feel much less attainable today than they did just a year ago when college bars and afternoon naps were still a regular part of my life.

I want to go to law school and write a book that could make someone cry and learn to make my own crepes for Sunday mornings.  I want to live overseas and finish Little Women and hear my brother proclaim the gospel for the first time.   I want to raise a puppy with a husband and grow mint leaves in our backyard and watch seasons change through tears of repentance and praise.

And I know it sounds like some silly bucket list you make on the way home from a trip with your grandma to Niagara Falls.

And maybe in some ways it is.

But I think it’s more than that, too.  I think it’s the desire to seek and embrace and create beauty because I have been changed by the sight of it elsewhere.  I think it’s a push for experiencing creation as I am daily enlivened by a brilliant Creator. It’s a longing to craft collections of words that can touch and heal and speak truth into chaos.  To taste and to think and to tell what is lovely.  To grasp and protect and defend what is pure.  The want to be alive.  The want to be thirsty.  The want to be awake.  The want to wake up in the mornings and lay in bed in the evenings and feel quiet and thankful and wholly secure.

So I have to believe that there is more than just the cloudy middle of my day.  More than student loans.  More than changing wiper fluid.  And by all damn means, more than accounting.

But today is Thursday.  And my student loan payment is due tomorrow.  And my windshield wiper fluid is empty.  And I have to go to work.  Today I woke up to a noisy morning and will go to bed with a noisy mind.

And I wonder how to reconcile all of these things.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2)

It’s like all I can see is the sharp juxtaposition of the things I dream of doing and the things I actually do.  And I find myself so often believing that my life will be one or the other – that they’re mutually exclusive.  That it’s Paris and crepes or car batteries and Excel.  Which ultimately is the belief that He either leads me beside the still waters I’ve envisioned or He leads me to the valley and leaves me there.  Leaves me where the rest of my life is just a quick, distracted prayer in the car every morning, racing, mindless thoughts at night, and cloudy, greyish matter in between.

But then scripture says this:  “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2)

And I wonder how to reconcile this, too.

The psalmist calls us to “declare [his] steadfast love in the morning” – reminding us of the daily forethought that ought to be given to the character of God.  The declaration of a promise on which to stand throughout the day – the firm foundation of the steadfast love of the Father.  You declare it.  You trust it.  You act on it.

And then, “to declare…[his] faithfulness by night” – suggesting the constant, daily, even hourly fulfilment of that promise.  Reflecting on His goodness and mercy to us throughout the day.  You declare it.  You remember it.  You rest in it.

The psalmist says that these are the bookends of our day.  These are the promises that smooth the ragged edges of our lives.  The pieces that both bind together and make sense of the cloudy middle – whatever it looks like.

When I believe in a God who is faithful in his steadfast love, I believe in a Shepherd who leads me well.  When I believe in the steadfast love of the Shepherd, I can trust that his wisdom goes beyond what I know.

And when I trust in the infinite wisdom of God, I can walk into cloudiness joyful and sure.  Sure that he knows the desires of my heart even better than I do.  Sure that he loves me enough to allow his will to conquer mine.  Sure that the still waters he leads me to are better, far better than those I imagine.  And joyful to be brought to them.  To be washed in them.  To be quieted by them.

When I declare His steadfast love in the morning, I trust in where he leads me the rest of the day.  And when I see that what he leads me to is covered in grace and mercy, I declare his faithfulness as I lay down to sleep.  And there is peace in the mornings.  And rest in the evenings.  And wisdom and mercy and grace in between.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2)

3 thoughts on “Morning and Evening and All That’s Between

  1. Never…


    …diminish the beauty of now. To look forward to something and have stuff behind you are both nice. My encouragement to you and hope for you is that you’ll put on your suit and put gas in your car and eat peanut butter in a way that’s truly thankful to Him and savor those moments. But even when the traffic is bad and the hosiery has runs and the spreadsheets blend and the loans are due, He is there, and He is NOT silent.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve found that looking back makes me realize I can’t change the past (nor is it usually as good as I like to remember it) and looking forward causes me to long for things that aren’t here yet. Both cause me to step out of the present…

    …and just…

    …BE. And experience His presence in my present. So, dream away. But be thankful and present in the now. That’s something I’ve failed to do a great deal, and wish I hadn’t missed the beauty of even the mundane.

  2. Bailey I know we haven’t spoken in years (you probably only know me as Tracy Martin!) but when I clicked over to a link on Brent’s FB to his blog I saw your name on the side and decided to read this. It is so beautifully written and gives me hope. You have a gift and I enjoyed reading your words.

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