My bride left for work early this morning. She was up at 5 AM or thereabouts; I was vaguely aware of running water in the bathroom and a blaze of light from the lamp on her nightstand. I believe I said goodbye when she left, but did not rise.
When my alarm sounded at 6 AM, I was again sleeping soundly. For years now I have maintained that my best sleep invariably comes in the hours just after sunrise, and this morning was no exception. I extinguished the alarm, thought briefly about getting out of bed, then reset the alarm for 6:30, rolled over and closed my eyes.
Immediately pangs of guilt pierced my chest: You should get up. You’re wasting the day. You have prayers to say and work to do.
I sighed, turned back to my back, and began to pray: “O Lord, look upon your servant…”
A corrective whisper sounded in my head: Look upon your son.
“O Lord, look upon your son…”
In my mind’s eye, I saw a sleeping baby. Perhaps because I am a father about to send his third child and first daughter into the wide world this week, perhaps because I am an expecting dziadzi (JAH-jee) awaiting my first grandchild in October, at first I imagined the infant in my own arms. My heart was filled with love, tenderness, pride and wonder as I gazed at the miracle, soft and silent before me.
Then it occurred to me: This is His gaze, the way He looks at His child, sleeping soundly in His arms. This is God, in this moment, looking at me…and smiling.
After a long day and a restless night, what brings more joy to a father than his child sleeping peacefully at last? Does he wake the baby just because it’s morning? Or does he settle in peacefully to enjoy a few moments of quiet rest with the one he cares for and loves?
You can guess my answer, I suppose. I turned back to my side and, smiling, closed my eyes for 30 more minutes.
I am better for it.