The spring after we moved into our current house, I began the ritual of going out to greet the sun every day. I have never been a part of a Catholic community that has a sunrise service on Easter morning which seemed to me to be a loss. Were Catholics too lazy to get up so early? We used to have midnight mass around Christmas…they were fine with staying up late, it seems.
I was also conscious of the fact that Catholics have six weeks of sacrifice and soul-searching of Lent but there are seven weeks of “Easter season” culminating with the feast of Pentecost. But I couldn’t remember the Church ever making a big deal out of the Easter season. At least, it never gave us stuff to do like it did for Lent. I guess being repentant was superior to being Joyful. Catholic, indeed.
So, one Easter morning fourteen years ago, I set my alarm, got myself out of bed, dressed and stepped out the door to watch the sunrise. On my property, I have to walk a bit to get out of the trees where I can see the horizon in the distance. It turned out to be a glorious thing to do. I decided to continue the practice throughout the seven weeks of Easter. I became addicted to the practice and it became an integral part of my spirituality. There have been years when I have gone out no matter how deep the temperatures drop in Minnesota winters. The last couple of years, I have been less eager to go out in the winter. Laziness, maybe, or I just need more time for my joints to loosen up.
If I were at my son’s house in Colorado or my daughter’s in Arizona, I would be able to watch the sunrise through their living room windows. I have decided that if we ever move, this will be a requisite of another house…an east facing window where I can sit and watch the rising sun.
What do I do as I watch? Well, I thank God I am here on this earth one more day. I reflect on the days that have gone by trusting God to make good of all things and pray that each experience I have makes me a better person than I was before. I think about people in my life and take the time to pray for those who I think may need prayer today. I pray for the world…there is always something going on to pray about. I look upward and pray that the thoughts I entertain today will be God’s thoughts. And I consider the idea that God is as much inside of me as in the universe out there.
Finally, I think about my day ahead. I ask God to help me to be loving with each encounter and to help me accept the unexpected and to be fully present to whatever happens. Then I turn round and walk back to the house…and go on with my day.