Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lark or owl?

One of the many, many adjustments to other human beings that come with living in community is how you use time. I’m not, here, talking about scheduled time – meetings and the like (plenty of them in community, but that’s not what I mean). With them it’s pretty clear: be there or think of a really groovy excuse (‘Sorry! I was leading someone to the Lord...’).

No, I’m talking about the in-between times, the non-specified times.

For example, take mLark or owl?ornings and evenings, those un-allotted hours before (or after) the timetable whizzes in (or out) of play. Put simply, some people are morning larks; others are night owls.

Me, I’m no lark. When it comes to mornings, I’m right with the biblical proverb that says ‘Whoever blesses his neighbour with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.’

Too right. Don’t talk to me in the mornings. Please – don’t be jolly. Leave me alone.

For me, the challenge of the morning is how to get up at the precise, timed-to-the-millisecond, moment which will allow me to roll into the bus that takes me to work on time. I’m far too intent on this delicately-timed operation (and on the fact that I can’t remember my name until 9 o’clock) to talk to anyone – let alone in a loud voice.

I’ve tried to change this. I know the holy people in our community rise early and work their way through the more important spiritual disciplines before breakfast. They are the larks, and their morning faces shine like the sun. But I can’t. I promise you, I’ve tried. I’m just simply not a morning person. Getting up at 7 o’clock for work is a minor miracle for me, I assure you.

Mind you, others are even more owlish than I am (I’m a tired middle-aged-parent-with-small-kids type who tends to burn the candle at neither end these days). But some are huge night hour adventurers. We have a young woman living in our community house at the moment who comes alive at 10 o’clock at night. That’s when she wants to go off to the park for madcap swinging fun. Or walk to the sea. Or make up a play. Or play an epic game of the Lord of the Rings board game (with extensions).

Unfortunately for her, at that point, all the larks are off to bed (as are the tired middle-aged-parent-with-small-kids types). So she’s on her own for a few hours, wondering what happened to living in community.

The secret, as with several squillion things in community, is give and take. Sometimes people have to get up a wee bit earlier – miss their Saturday lie in of epic proportions perhaps – to join more with community life. Others may stay up later than they prefer in order to join that late night heart-sharing in the kitchen.

In community, love comes down to the little things like this.

Then there’s the issue of time together versus time alone. But I think I’ll leave that post for now – till I’ve got time to write it...


Nathan Britten said...

I'm no lark or owl!! My head wakes up about 9am and then stops working at about 10pm!!

Georgia Knowing said...

Um... so what is the animal for both morning and night... I totally understand those who don't do mornings but i do so just as people go to bed early and leave em wondering what to do I might as well make the most of every second that I see them AWAKE. Morning James!