Lately, I’ve been uncharacteristically disciplined in my morning routine. I wake early before everyone else, make my coffee, get out ingredients for lunches, and start waking up my five children and begin motivating them to get ready for school. By the time they’re finally out the door, I’m ready to make the most of the sudden quiet and calm by finishing my coffee (I’ve learned to like it cold after many years of not having time to drink it while it’s still hot!), saying my morning prayers, and enjoying some spiritual reading, before getting back to work. With this routine of prioritizing prayer in place, I never miss a day.
Normally, my husband leaves a few minutes before the kids, sometimes dropping one of them off at early band or volleyball practice on his way to the office. He’s almost always gone before they are. But every once in a while, when he’s had to work late the night before, or will be attending a work-related event in the evening, he goes in late. He’ll take his time getting ready (instead of putting up with the usual morning rush while our five children compete for space and time in one of our two bathrooms), and wander into the kitchen once the kids are finished eating breakfast and making lunches and have headed out the door. He makes a coffee and sits across from me on the couch, relaxed and ready to spend a few peaceful – and rare – minutes conversing with me in the morning. It all sounds so very lovely.
Except it wasn’t.
While my husband sipped his coffee and chatted about what was coming up in his day, I kept an eye on the time. This is cutting into my prayer time, I thought to myself, smiling tensely. I’m running out of time to pray.
After a while, my husband gets up, sets his empty coffee mug in the sink, and heads to the front door. “I guess I better get out of your hair and let you get on with your day,” he said.
“Have a good day!” I chime, trying to sound cheerful while mentally calculating how much time I have left to read and pray. How much time I’ve lost.
After watching his truck pull out of the driveway, I sat back down on the couch and opened my prayer book. Finally! And then the thought came to me.
I missed my prayer time.
In the rigidity of my morning routine, in my distracting desire to say my prayers, read my Bible, read my book, I had missed the opportunity of self-gift, of spending time with someone who wanted – and needed – to spend time with me. He was my prayer time that morning, and I missed it.
I won’t let it happen again.