4:17 AM

The alarm clock sounds; my internal alarm clock. Nearly every morning, give or take 10 minutes, this is when God wakes me up to remind me of all the stuff I have to do today. What a sense of humor. Although I fight it, I know I am pushing that big rock up the hill.

I reach across the night stand and press the middle button of my CPAP machine, cutting the forced air supply that goes into the mask over my face. The dying whir of the motor signals the end of another night of me pretending to be a Top Gun Pilot. It will be another 2 hours before my bride even begins to stir. I’m not sure who the bigger winner is with my sleep apnea; me getting to play pilot, or Leigh slumbering in a snore-free zone.

Placing the mask on the headboard, I put my head back on the pillow; a deep breath, a smile and a quick “Thanks for another day.” After all, I know where I am, I know where I was, and I have at list of stuff to do: That has not always been the case. There is something about the smallest bit of gratitude that displaces the disquiet from my mind; it cleanses my mental palate.

With Ninja-like stealth, I trundle out of bed toward the bathroom, deftly closing the door behind me. As I flip on the bathroom light I am immediately assaulted by an explosion of vibrant colors so loud and shocking, I am certain it is accompanied by the shattering of the mirror. It is not. It is simply a reflection of the collision of light and my tie-dyed tee shirt. It’s like biting into a jalapeno pepper, even though I know what I’m going to get, it still startles me every time. My son-in-law Peter once commented it would never see the light of the East Coast, but from the moment I saw the road-side vendor’s shirts hanging on a rope near Waimea Bay, I knew I had to have it.

After a shave and a couple courtesy swipes of my Mennen Speed stick, I turn off the light, and navigate the 3 dark feet from the bathroom to the walk-in closet. I usually remember to navigate around the chair that has been in the same spot for the past 8 years. I put on my gym gear and slide out of the room with my clothes-for-the-day picked the night before. (Yes – I lay out my own clothes). On the landing, part way down the staircase, I pass Isaac the Wonderdog. At 11 years old, he seldom rushes down the starirs to be let out; now he moves his head just enough that his chain rattles so I know where not to step. That’s wisdom.

In the kitchen, I turn on the light, and immediately head for my iPhone. I like to cross check my divine “To Do” list with something a little more concrete, like email, Facebook, and ‘Words with Friends’. Who knows what guidance could be waiting?

I reach into the refrigerator and pull out a single-serving yogurt container (preferably strawberry) and a hard-boiled egg. The Magic Egg Carton, distinguished by the handwritten “HARD BOILED”, is not unlike the Magic Hamper I shared about in ‘A Happy Queen‘. I don’t understand how it works; all I know is every morning I go to the fridge and take my egg. When I take the last one, I place the empty carton on the back right burner of the stove. The next morning, it is back in the fridge filled with 7 or 8 newly hard boiled eggs. It’s magic. It really is.

After eating the salted egg, I reach for the plastic pill box, pulling from each compartment, one each of Vitamins E, C, D, B, a Fish Oil, and a Glucosimine . I’m sure at some point I could have told why each one; but I can’t now. Mindlessly, I wash down the handful of vitamins with my yogurt, grab a bottle of water, and head to the gym.

Admittedly, the intensity of my work out has diminished somewhat since turning 50. Super sets, sweat-drenched shirts and spinning classes have been replaced by stretching, longer conversations at the water fountain, and more stretching. My mantra has become, “Start off slow, and then ease off.” It’s generally is working for me. I can tell when I’ve not followed my own advice when a plume of fish oil and hardboiled egg starts rising up the back up my throat; then it’s time for a different kind of palate cleansing, at the nearest water fountain.

Upon completion of the ‘more stretching’ phase of my workout, I shower, change and, schedule permitting, head over to have coffee with some dear friends. It’s a great way to start the rest of my day.

I’m grateful for my life today; it’s certainly better than I deserve.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is, “Thank you”, it will be enough. ~ Meister Eckhart

2 thoughts on “Morning Ritual

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