4 in the morning

I awake with a start and feel as though I’ve forgotten something. Not something important, but a small trifling. I immediately search for the phone thinking that perhaps the answer lies there. Nothing. But the bright screen pushes sleep further away and I toss it aside, silently cursing my technological dependency and think that, yes, the robots will one day rule us.

It’s then that I notice the rain. Not just rain, but thunder, and somehow it’s disorienting. Something primal kicks in and I go to Stella’s room. She’s sleeping soundly. I pull the covers up and close her window against the storm. I begin to make my way around the house, checking windows, and turning off lights I had left on the night before. The bathroom beckons and I oblige.

Back in bed, covers pulled up, eyes closed.

Mind begins to race. I’ve been here before and it’s at this point I try to convince myself that sleep is necessary and desired. Give yourself two more hours and you’ll be better for it.

Five minutes later I’m brewing coffee.

Cup in hand I crawl back into bed and I sit sipping in the dark. I try to recall what I may have been dreaming right before I woke. Perhaps that holds the answer as to why I’m up at this hour.

Nothing.

What about the night before? Was something troubling me? I mean, more than the usual unresolved feelings. A slight anxiety seems to be festering right below the surface so I try to take some focused breaths and come back to center. This works for a short time but my mind will have none of it. It’s off and running. It’s racing through a day that has yet to happen.

And then a thought crosses my mind.

Maybe it’s not anxiety. Or a dream. Or something negative.

It’s more like a feeling of anticipation. Excitement slowly bubbling to the surface for no other reason than feeling good. I’m not talking about feeling good because of a decision or an action. Something deeper. Something primal. Something honest. Something playful.

Then it comes to me.

Joy.

It’s been awhile but here it is. I want to reach inside and shake hands with it. I want to say “Hello old friend. How I’ve missed you.”

The rain has stopped and the first strands of sunlight are making their way into my bedroom. Stella will be up soon and the promise of a new day will shine fresh upon her face.

I’m awake now.

Awake to the possibilities and to the magic. Awake to the muse who I thought left me, but was merely waiting. Awake to my heart. A heart that was there for Stella, but locked against the storm of life.

I realize now what I had forgotten. Turns out it is no small trifling, but something important.

I’d forgotten to allow joy to happen.

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