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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dawn and the Journey of Life**

*Chicago Tribune
March 11, 2011
as "Everyone needs a reason to start the day"

*Somerset, PA Daily American
March 12, 2011
as "Everyone needs a reason to start the day"

Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey

“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive
--to breathe, to think, to enjoy…to love.”
--Marcus Aurelius
There’s something marvelously clean about the morning. The day is perfect; clear of wrinkles and scribbles, stains and tears. The hours ahead are ruled solely by the power of potential, and after a restful night’s sleep, we have the strength and energy to turn possibility into wondrous reality. Yesterday is done. The mistakes we made, the opportunities we squandered are in the irretrievable past. Before us is a blank canvas, ready and waiting for whatever portrait we choose to paint.
“It was morning; through the high window,
I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky.
It, too, seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans,
and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion.”
--Herman Hesse
As dawn approaches, the sky changes. The black starry dome lightens to non-committal grey as the night stubbornly gives way. On the eastern horizon, the great beacon edges upward, the glowing rays the harbinger of its pending arrival. Even in these pre-dawn moments, the sun engages in a bit of artistry as the still-hidden star brushes the clouds with strokes of pure gold. In the landscape around, that which was formless and invisible in the dark now becomes familiar and known. Our deepest fears are associated with darkness. We know instinctively that in the light we will find safety from those unknown dangers that lurk in the night

Then, with dramatic suddenness, the sun appears, its light flooding the landscape. In the warm seasons, the trees and grass welcome the light, subtly turning towards that beacon of life. After cold nights, thousands of tiny diamond points of light shimmer, the light reflected and refracted by the icy crystals of frost or snow. But even on the coldest mornings, you can feel its welcome warmth upon your face.

For some, the morning signals the end of the night’s labors. They will travel home to a warm bed and restful sleep. For the rest of us, however, the day has just begun.
“Thank God every morning when you get up
that you have something to do that day
which must be done, whether you like it or not.”
--James Russell Lowell
Humans are creatures driven by necessity, despite the tantalizing temptations of indolence. Intelligent creatures get bored easily and must be engaged in productive labors. We are, after all, each gifted with talents and skills that were meant to be shared with the world. When we don’t contribute, the world suffers. When we are up and active, our minds are engaged and we learn. To remain idle atrophies the muscles and stagnates the mind.

With each day comes challenge and adversity. While manifestly not fun, those times are vital to us. As we struggle, we grow; we become tougher, more resolute. Defeat, while sobering, is nonetheless the harsh and pitiless teacher from whom we must learn. But when we achieve, we celebrate a special joy; that singular self-affirmation of knowing that through effort and perseverance, we made a difference. And within us, another star begins to rise.

Dawn is a fresh start, renewed with each sunrise. We know not where sunset will find us, only that ahead lies the adventure of the unknown. It is so very important that we face that mystery with courage; that in that new light, we vow to call forth the strength, knowledge, and wisdom we have gained to face whatever predator crouches in wait along our path.

And we make a promise that no matter what we may face, we will complete the journey.

Every day is a gift; a gift of time, of resource, of opportunity. In the dawn is a moment of choice. We can decide which path to walk; when we can change our lives by changing ourselves. We can fix what is broken, and start anew.
“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in you.
There is magic in the morning. For it is in that moment of perfect light that we begin the journey. For no matter how long or how dark the night has been, the sun will always rise.
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