One Sun Wishes Us All a ‘Good Morning’

Driving home from a weekend visit with my daughter in Chicago, I left the city before dawn to beat the Monday morning traffic. As I-90 led me into Indiana, the sky was dark and lonely, lit only by the glow of automated toll booths.

I had all but forgotten about the sunrise, as it was the kind that bursts rather than creeps into view. Suddenly the eastern sky exploded with blinding light, illuminating the sprawling steel mill that sputters and spews on Gary’s lakeshore.

It was magnificent! I instantly felt the sun energize my groggy mind and body. “Good morning,” I said aloud to no one and to everyone.

I thought of Maya Angelou’s poem On the Pulse of the Morning which ends ~“Here, on the pulse of this new day, You may have the grace to look up and out, And into your sister’s eyes, Into your brother’s face, your country, And say simply, Very simply, With hope, Good morning.”

My husband voluntarily rises before the sun nearly every morning. I do not, but the next day I inexplicably woke before dawn. I pulled on jeans over my pajamas, slipped on my sneakers and coat, and ran outside to greet the sun. The morning magic included a thick mist rising up from an invisible lake, a flock of graceful geese flying overhead, and five deer quietly foraging for breakfast.

My sun came up behind thick woods beyond a golden field in the Midwest, yet I vaguely understand the same sun rose over mountains, oceans, deserts, farms, and cities. It rose over mansions and huts. It rose over my house and yours.

I confess it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around that, as well as the sun’s scientific role. It is a star and the source of energy for life on Earth. It provides us light and heat. It allows plants to conduct photosynthesis, creating food to eat and oxygen to breathe. Its reflection off the moon offers a nightlight. It is the gravitational center of our solar system, keeping the planets in place. We use it to mark our days and our years.

What’s easier for me to grasp is the inspiration the sun offers poets, mystics, and artists, and the reason I was outside at dawn in my jammies watching it make its daily debut. Each sunrise brings with it a unifying reminder of the incomprehensible mystery, beauty, and wisdom of our universe.

No matter our differences, the sunrise is our common denominator ~ faithfully shining equally on every upturned, wishful face. So we can all wake up and say, very simply, and with hope, “Good morning!”

 

 

 

 

 

Weathering the Storms Together

 

At some point in your education, you may have learned about a psychological theory called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory is often shown in a five-tier pyramid, with basic physiological needs at the bottom and self-actualization at the top. Abraham Maslow’s idea was that, in general, we can’t advance to the next level of personal fulfillment until the previous level is met.

I’d venture to say much of my time, and yours, is dedicated to self-actualization ~ realizing our personal growth and potential. We are fortunate to have our basic needs met, so we are free to pursue loftier goals.

But if disaster struck, how quickly we would slide down that pyramid. We wouldn’t give a fig about self-actualization!

Last weekend our power went out during a rain storm. Mike and I stopped everything we were doing, lit candles, gathered flashlights, and checked our food supply. The outage lasted less than an hour, but it briefly upended our priorities and concerns.

Later in the week, we learned 2,975 people lost their lives in Puerto Rico last year as a result of Hurricane Maria. By the end of the week, Hurricane Florence was ravaging the Carolinas.

Nature offers such peace and beauty, but there is wisdom to be garnered from the raging storms, too.

We remember what’s important. When forced to evacuate, people grab each other, pets, and maybe a few sentimental items. The house, furnishings, decorations, clothing, jewelry, and electronics are all just things. It makes us question if any of that stuff was ever getting us closer to self-fulfillment.

We realize we’re all the same. In a disastrous situation, we get a taste of the lives of those who struggle daily for nutritious food, potable water, and safe shelter. Social and economic status can make human beings seem very different from one another, but in truth, we all have the same basic needs and desires.

We rely upon our resourcefulness. There’s a reason why television shows and movies about survival are popular. They challenge us to think about our ability to meet our basic needs without depending on modern conveniences. Storms, of all kinds, test our physical, mental, and spiritual strength

We are put in our place. Most of us like to feel we’ve got it together and are in control of our lives. It’s all smooth sailing, and then WHAM! Stormy weather reminds us we can’t control everything. Sometimes we have to surrender and have faith the storm will pass, and the sun will shine again.

We need each other. Maslow’s theory includes the human need for love and belonging. In times of disaster, there are always stories of people helping people, reminding us of the good in humanity and in ourselves.

You can help people affected by Hurricane Florence and other devastating storms by donating to the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org.