It’s 5am and the sun won’t be rising for another couple of hours. I always like this time of day. It’s really quiet and I can see the city lights twinkle like stars across the lake. It’s that moment before everyone starts worrying about their days, honking at each other on their way to work and doing things they would rather not be doing. It’s that blank moment of possibility, like anything could happen today.
People dreaming in their beds of quitting their jobs and sleeping in, drinking cocoa all day and watching movies, maybe even following their dreams. It’s that moment before obligation sets in, before people put the millstone back on and walk another mile.
For several years that’s what I did, selling every scrap of my time and energy to get by. And I still remember that feeling of waking up at 4:45 am to work out, heading out for work before the sun rose, hands freezing wrapped around a coffee. Trying not to think about the fact that my next free day will not come for another three and a half weeks. And that bittersweet moment when the sun would rise just above the horizon. This beautiful golden, brilliant glow would catch my eye as I pulled into the parking lot at work. That sweet fleeting moment before the daily storm set in.
Sit down in front of piles of work, still exhausted from the day before. Take a deep breath and turn on some music. The soft notes floating through the air, a sip of coffee, the sun beginning to sparkle through a tree outside. Never has music sounded so sweet.
Have you ever had a really hard day and the moment someone showed you the remotest gesture of kindness wanted to burst into tears. Small gestures of kindness and love can be so potent when the world seems dark.
It’s easy to become blind to the beauty and opportunity that each day brings. The sun shining through the leaves, the gentle pat, pat of ducks feet against the pavement in the park. The way they kind of pull their head down into their bodies to keep warm when there is frost on the grass. That customer who is being kind of rude today, that maybe just lost someone they really cared about. That person or animal that you come across that, if shown even the slightest bit of kindness, might lend them the strength to keep going, to believe that there is something good in the world worth living for.
There is opportunity every day to make a significant difference in the world. It may be just choosing to act with the smallest gestures of kindness towards somebody sometime, whether it’s somebody else or whether it’s you. It could be taking a moment to watch the sun rise, remembering what inspires you, appreciating the strength that has carried you through when things got tough.
Flowers grow up through tiny cracks in the concrete. Life finding a way to see the sky even amidst the most challenging of circumstances.