Saturday, December 19, 2015

Knock. Knock.

I have a love/hate relationship with 3 A. M. Without warning and with no particular “common cause,” you can find me several times a year, or more often sideways…one eye open..staring…blinking… questioning the reality that the display on my clock is really showing 3 A.M. (or pretty close to it).
Groan. It’s the middle of the night. I’m tired. Days are full. Miles were run. Promises were made; I may or may not keep have kept them. Conversations were started - that may or may not be completed. Great care was given to keep it all together and to keep it safe and to, by God, keep the trains running - even if they are on the wrong tracks).
Knock. Knock.
The first few years, I didn’t get it. I didn’t notice the pattern. I didn’t hear the knock. I’d complain about bouts of insomnia, or, times when I’d wake up and struggle to get back to sleep. No big deal. Most everyone struggles with stress, busy minds and short nights.
Grow up. Muscle through the day. Toss back extra coffee. Move along. Nothing to learn here, right?
Over time (as in years), I started to notice the consistency of “the hour” but still didn’t seem to think too much about the rhyme or reason. I’m just a little too hard- headed to actually notice, too often. Until, one day, I mentioned my 3 A.M. riddle to a friend as we paced stride-for-stride on a long run. She talked about the signs in our life that so often go unnoticed. Rarely are they bold, yet, so often they are placed there to force us to get outside of ourselves, to learn, or to nudge us forward to a state of gratitude. And, yes, there flashed in mind that bold LED red - 3 A.M.
Knock. Knock.
Hello, “captain obvious.”
3 A.M. is a gift.
It is.
It was God seeking to break through. 
I now begrudgingly wake up and force a “thank you” and “what are you here to teach me” out. And, then I lay there in silence. Quite often the laundry list of people who I’ve promised to pray for - but, haven’t – will scurry to the forward as I have nothing to do but think of them and follow-through on my promise.
At other times, I’ll have to face my latest charade and “image” I’m trying to protect. Or, maybe, I’ll squint (it’s dark after all) and get a glimpse of the joy and the hysterical moments that I overlook and/or need to be remember again.
Glennon Doyle Melton states that “pain is just a traveling professor. When pain knocks on the door—wise ones breathe deep and say: ‘Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.’ ”
I like that image.
And, while pain is a bold and a tenured professor that I am not trying to equate with sleeplessness. I do think that we too often overlook the teachers that surround us if we’d only notice. They are there - those patterns, moments or people who surround us, or, that literally call us to wake up and be open to a breakthrough – big, raw, small, or uncomfortable.
What is your 3 A.M.? How can you wake up and say “Thank you, teacher, what have you to teach me today?”


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