The sun isn’t up. Short steps and joyful voices bounce across cold floors. Unwilling to open my eyes, I listen to the girls greet the day and the dog clamor for breakfast. Not yet, I think. I’m not ready yet. Dark mornings have a way of pulling me down. I have a way of pulling them down, too.
There has been a lot going on around here lately. There is a lot going on around here all of the time, but these last two weeks have been comical. Tile floors have become concrete, popcorn ceilings have arduously been de-kernelled and walls have vanished. The transformation has been fascinating and the dust is invasive. Like sand at the beach, you wonder just how it gets into all of those crevices. I’ve been chafing a bit.
I heed the call to verticality and lumber across the crackle of pebbled mortar beneath my feet. Coffee is first but I forget which room the pot is in. The beans are in the living room, the blender for smoothies in the front bedroom and the table for the girls to eat on in their bedroom. I think the cereal may be out on the porch, but I’m not sure. Once found, each must be cleaned before it can be used. I can smell the dust. One of the girls is crying outside of Mom’s shower curtain. This is hard on them, too.
While the coffee brews I find half a dozen things to be mad about. I feel justified in my furrowed brow and even intensify it in my reflection in the curtainless window. I stare at myself and begin to feel my own validations consume me. I’m tired, I’m sore, I can’t cook in my own kitchen and my black dog looks grey from all the pummeled thin-set and sanded dry wall. This is bullshit.
Somewhere in that black morning in my black shorts and black mood I saw it. Maybe it was in my wife’s softness. Maybe it was in her unwillingness to bow down before another sixteen hour work day. Maybe it was in the skip in Lemon’s step on her way to the backyard while she waited for her dad to pull himself and breakfast together. Maybe it was in the little song Bug sings as she does pretty much anything. I don’t really know, but I saw it.
I saw that it was all my creation. Not the mess and the dust and the work and the chaos – none of that is real. It is just stuff. My mood and my energy were all my creation. My anger and my excuses were all my creation. And my way out of it would be my creation.
I’m not in control of all that happens around me but I am in control of myself. I can choose to become the dust that defiles the air and blankets those cold floors or I can rise above it and shine my light.
I’m sure I will need to be reminded of this many times again, but on that morning, while waiting for the sun to rise, I was able to see in the dark.