I like this time of day. It's a time I can think, unwind, and destress from the busy-ness of the past 14 hours. It's a time I can write, I can pray, and I can read.
It's my time.
I've always enjoyed times like this. When I was a child I'd ride my bike to a park near my home that had a creek running through it. I could sit beside that creek and watch the water run for hours while I thought my thoughts, and dreamed my dreams.
As I got older, the locale changed. With little ones at home, I often found my only escape was a trip to Wal-Mart. Funny as that may sound, a person can get a lot of thinking and praying done in the time it takes to buy groceries, diapers and essentials like toilet paper. A whole lot of thinking and praying.
The important thing was not where I was, but more than that the time I had to be alone with my thoughts. And that is how I am today. I try to take retreat time at least every year. I used to go to a cabin my father owned. A couple of times I went to a hotel here in town by myself. And this past year, when we had no money and I had no vacation time left to go anywhere at all, a sweet friend of mine lent me her home for a day when she was out of town.
I warned my husband about this before we were ever married. "There are times, my love, when I will find it necessary to be alone," I said.
It broke his heart.
Being somewhat young and in love, he could not understand why I would ever want to leave his side. Because obviously, he never wanted to leave mine.
Fast forward 16 years.
"So, you going on that retreat thing any time soon?" he lovingly asks as he pushes me out the door. "I packed your bag for you."
What a guy. Because, you see, he knows now. He knows that if I don't get time alone, he'll wish I had. In a big way. Oh yes indeed, in a very big way. And to tell you the truth, I think he also realizes the value of time spent alone.
My husband is a newspaper carrier. As such, he gets up around 3 a.m. every day to go throw around 900 homes their daily news. He's done it for better than forty years now, beginning when he was a kid on his father's route. It's pretty much all he knows. He enjoys his chosen profession. Not only because he has no real "boss" to answer to, but because of the time it gives him to think every day. Alone, with no distractions. The problems of the world are solved every morning on the route.
Many times he will come home and tell me of conversations he's had with different people while on the route. Although those people are there in spirit, not in body, he manages to work out problems with them as if they were actually there. Sometimes I've even been talked to on the route...while I was at home in bed, sound asleep.
Another one talked to on the route is God. He seems to be the only one who is really there, both in Spirit and in Truth. My husband and God have had many conversations over the years in the wee hours of the morning, alone in the dark. In that way my husband is just like me. The only difference is the time and place. God shows up on the route just as surely as He shows up at Wal-Mart. He shows up whether it's in a cabin, or on a friend's deck. He shows up late at night, and He shows up early in the morning. All we have to do is take the time out to talk with Him, to seek His face, and to listen to what He has to say.
Because He meets us where we are.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (NIV)
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (NIV)