I was talking to a friend of mine last week and we were trying to get to the bottom of some issues she is having. One of the topics that came up was getting up in the morning. I know that it is something that we all have to do, and that some days we do it very reluctantly. My point to her was that I have found that when I consistently get up at the same time each day and I follow the same routine in the morning, my day tends to go much better. I have discussed this before about living the heroic minute, but after our discussion last week, I thought it was worth expanding on.
With summer upon us, it can be very easy to become lax in our usual routines. I know that it happens in this household. Things seem to loosen up just a bit, which I find is very helpful to all of us after the pace of the previous nine months. What I have to make sure that I don't give up on is that essential morning routine that I have developed. My waking time might change a bit, especially because we tend to stay up later in the summer, but I still stick to the same routine. Let's take a look at two morning alternatives:
6:00 wake up and begin prayer time
6:15 continue with prayers while exercising
6:45 take a shower and get dressed
7:15 check email - some children already awake
7:30 wake everyone else who is still sleeping and begin breakfast
8:00 clean up breakfast and get everyone ready for the day
Now the times for this schedule might vary if we are going to mass that morning, but the actual routine does not. Following this really gets me the quiet time I need to wake up and get ready to face whatever the day has in store for me. Contrast the above with the following:
7:00 wake up in a panic because I have no idea what time it is, even though I am still exhausted because I was up too late last night (or storms kept us up!!)
7:05 get out of bed to begin prayers, but some kids are already awake so they begin to come in and out of the room and ask questions, so prayers constantly get interrupted.
7:30 hurry up and finish prayers because kids are hungry and want to be fed, so begin breakfast for little ones and then go run and jump in the shower.
8:00 realize that not everyone woke up early and that there are still some slackers in bed, so get them up and get them going. Unfortunately, they are also now behind, so the kitchen can't get cleaned up because people are still eating.
8:30 sense of peace and calm gone because only some are dressed and ready while others are still stumbling along somewhere in the process....
I know that days like the above are inevitable, but if you set up a do-able schedule for yourself in the morning and stick to it, those chaotic mornings will not be the norm. I realize that not everyone likes to have a strict time schedule to follow, but I am a firm believer that you should have the same routine that you can follow every day, one that most importantly includes some quiet prayer time. Maybe for you it will only be 10 or 15 minutes in the morning, but at least you are consistently starting your day off by speaking with God.
So, take this time during the summer when things tend to be a bit more relaxed and figure out a routine that you can live with that includes some quiet prayer time - just you and God. Try to follow it for a month and see if it doesn't bring some peace to your soul and order to your day (or at least your mornings).