on morning grumps

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Gary and I get up to start our morning together each day.  This is markedly different from my first marriage, where one of us always woke earlier than the other and quietly slipped out while the other slept on.  Gary and I are very committed to this way – even when he was starting work at 4 AM, we got up together at 2:15 and I would make his breakfast and pack his lunch while he showered, then sit with him while he had breakfast.  I would read our devotionals while he ate and then we would pray together, getting this all accomplished before 3:30 AM, when it was time to take him to work. 

These days our mornings are more merciful than the 2:15 AM start, and we continue in our commitment to begin our days together in the same manner, only not so early.  Though I have frequently noted that I am “not a morning person,” I don’t hate morning anymore.  It is still very hard to wake up and get going, but the joy of Gary being right there, before I even open my eyes! – makes this now actually perhaps my favorite part of the day. 

But waking up daily with Gary has also shown me something about myself that I didn’t notice in all those years of waking up on my own:  I fall into moods and funks and generally unhelpful thought patterns really quite regularly. 

I didn’t notice this on my own because it takes me literally hours to come 100% awake with my brain fully engaged.  Running at minimum capacity alone and being an unintentional expert at denial, I just let that slip right on past my radar, before we were married.

Now, though, there is this sweet, funny, compassionate, fully awake and utterly-in-tune-to-me man there as I start my day.  Often he quickly picks up the difference between, “she’s waking up slowly” and “she’s emotionally tanking.”  He notices and asks about it, earnest in his desire to know me and to help me, and then my mostly-dormant lizard brain wakes up to notice, too.  “Oh, yeah…I guess I AM really grumpy.” 

Other times, I notice the grump before he does.  I notice it because now there is the very real danger that I will let my grump take charge and that he, being the only target in the room, will bear the brunt of its impact.  I am not having that.  So I am noticing and doing a massive amount of silent prayer and self-coaching, sternly insisting to myself that I MUST BE NICE to him, no matter how grumpy my grump is. 

There was none of this dynamic when I was waking up alone.  I kind of assumed that I was a steady sailor of the morning hours.  I am genuinely surprised at both the sharpness of the dips in my morning mood, and the frequency with which it plummets. 

As in most cases, though, noticing is half the battle.  As long as I didn’t even KNOW it was happening, it probably wasn’t going to change.  Now that I see, I have ample opportunity to let God make some needed change in me.  

In the end, isn’t that really quite often why He allows us to enter into and fully experience our own yuck…so that we can get down to the business of healing?

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