I get up early. Like, early. During the school year, my alarm goes off at 4AM. This summer, I have been able to sleep in until 4:30, or even 5 some days. My saving grace is that no one else is up when I am until after I have showered and had my coffee. Thank you, Jesus. I have about 20 blissfully sleepy minutes in the morning all to myself. I have showered and washed the previous day away. I sit on my spot on the couch (usually fighting Lucy, our beagador for it) and let my hot coffee and bible soothe my soul before the chaos ensues.
Coffee in my tummy and joy in my heart still does not make me a morning person. I do not wake up at that ridiculous hour by choice, but because I have a full time job and kids who are so far apart there is no chance of them riding the bus or being dropped off at the same time. (To everything there is a season.) I still need a full two hours or so to become human.
After putting out the fires of the morning, putting in ponytails and slicking down cowlicks, packing whatever food needs to go to the multiple locations, letting the dogs in and out and in and out, and changing shoes to fit my mood I slip away into the van. Podcast started and seatbelt on, I drive down the same road in roughly the same 5 minute window every day. As a spontaneous person with self diagnosed OCD, I equally love and hate the monotonous.
A few months ago while mindlessly driving my morning route, a few older (than me) ladies were out in the road. Let me set this scene - There is a sidewalk. (Which I wanted to inform them of out my window not very gracefully.) Why are they in the road? Fix it, Jesus. I continue down the road, believing that they will move. They didn't. So, rather than start my morning off with vehicular assault, I drive a wide berth around them. This continues for the next week or so. Them walking, talking, enjoying their morning with their walking sticks and high hopes and me swerving around them with the nerve to drive my car on the road. Maybe I should take the sidewalk? Each time I would think things I probably shouldn't be, and then immediately feel guilty. But, obviously not guilty enough because I would go about my day and forget all about it until the next morning when history would repeat itself.
Until the morning my prayer included joy and a change of perspective for someone else. Prayers are apparently contagious, because as I drove by them that morning and we got close enough to make eye contact, I smiled and waved. They both smiled and waved back. What just happened? I felt a little strange and a little lighter as my morning thorn had been removed. The next day I tried it again, slowing down just enough to be able to be intentional with it. They met my smile and wave with their own!
Now a few months later, I start to smile as I turn onto that road in the morning. We smile and wave the same every day, and it hasn't stopped making my heart light. I keep meaning to bring them a bottled water, but as my brain is not awake yet I forget. (It's the thought that counts? I'll get my stuff together someday soon and bring one.) Changing my perspective has turned an annoyance into something I look forward to. We had a thunderstorm a few weeks ago, and I noticed their absence. I have started wondering how they know each other and what made them start walking this way. I look forward to brightening their day just as they brighten mine. With one small act and attitude change, one of the things I dreaded quickly became the opposite. I humanized them, which is something I feel is so lacking these days.
The world needs more smiles. I hope you find yours!
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer