Tick Tock

There’s something holy about a sunrise. All of creation falls silent just before the first rays of sunlight reach the earth. It’s like everything stands still for those few seconds. Awaiting the light. As the day breaks the birds of the air break into song, flowers open up to receive the sun’s warmth and all the earth awakens to praise their Creator for the gift of another day. It really is something spectacular to behold. It’s a shame I’m not a morning person.

Okay, I know a lot of people say “I’m not a morning person”, but I’m afraid I embody this saying. Anyone who knows me will testify to the scary shadow of a human being I am before 8am. After a few years of working in the music and film industry, I’ve had to train myself to function in these ridiculous hours of the morning. But I’m afraid I still fail miserably. I try. I really do. Alas.

I haven’t attempted watching a sunrise until a week ago when we traveled to Limpopo for an onsite edit for a corporate client. After weeks of spending time at the same office desk, I welcomed the change of scenery with open arms. Even if the change of scenery came with 20 hour working days. Details, details…

So there we were. On a deck. In the bushveld. Freezing. Shooting a timelapse of the sunrise to include in our story, after sleeping only 3 hours and being seriously decaffeinated. What a time to be alive.

After fighting the haze of negativity and side effects of sleep-deprivation, I lifted my head as the sun peeked over the hills. The sky was painted with shades of red, purple, blue and yellow. Spectacular. I had to fight the tears, as I beheld the beauty all around. I could feel a new day break in my spirit, and all that remained was a thankful heart. There are countless times that we get so caught up in all our discontentment, that we completely miss the beauty in the moment we are in. If we could just learn to be fully present in the gift of the present.

I’m celebrating my birthday tomorrow. My perspective about turning older has shifted radically in the past 5 years. We all fear time. We fear that it’ll be too much, or too little. We fear that it’ll be wasted and slip through our fingers. We resent the periods of waiting, and regret that we didn’t make more of the time we had. The all too familiar “what if?” creeps into the crevices of our doubts, and feeds the fire of fear.

Today I was prompted to ask “what if?” in a different way. What if time was a gift? What if the ticking of the clock was something to be grateful for? Time was never meant to drive fear into our hearts. Time was made to create beauty, growth, healing. To give us hope, and to remind us of how precious this life is. Without time we would just be like me before 8am… Scary shadows drifting along with no purpose.

If there’s anything I could pray for in this new year of life ahead, it would be that I would devote myself to being fully present. To stop living in the past, or striving towards the future. To look at life through Heaven’s eyes. To look beyond all of my fears and discontentment, and see the beauty all around. To stand in awe and wonder with all of creation. Arise and shine, for a new day has come.

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Be Still.

I grew up in a musical family. That sounds weird… Kind of like we all just broke into random song and dance in the middle of our Saturday mall outing. Rehearsed and pitch perfect. A lovely thought, but no. I mean my mom and dad both come from families where music is pretty much woven into every day life. My gran (on mom’s side) studied music, my gramps was a tenor. They started an acapella choir in the 70’s that traveled South Africa, Europe and Israel. My mom pursued a career in music before she went into psychology. My dad sings. My aunts and uncles sing. My cousins sing. My sister and I sing. We’re basically the Trolls. Without the sparkles, felt and rainbow hair.

You know those crazy, loud, emotional families depicted in films. Yeah, that’s us. I’ve grown to be a master in the art of following several conversations at once. I love my family. We’re brilliant at a lot of things. Being quiet just isn’t one of those things.

I think we can all relate, in some way. Being still is not something that comes naturally to human beings. If you ask me, it’s part of the human condition. Even when our lips aren’t moving, our thoughts most certainly are. Being a woman also doesn’t help. Checklists. Overthinking every minute detail of conversations. Analysing body language. Pondering the complexity and simplicity of life. Connecting the dots. If my body was only half as active as my mind, my epic jean battle every morning would turn into a very civilized nod and hand shake.

(By the way, thank you Winter for making it nearly impossible to lose weight. My fat cells salute you.)

The older I get, the more I find myself turning the volume down. Suddenly I can relate to those people who are familiar with “the middle of nowhere”. You know, those little primitive mountain settlements and ghost towns people break away to, where you can hear your own cells divide at night. We are constantly enveloped in an ever growing wave of noise. There’s always so much to do, so much to see, so much to hear, so much to say. We’ve completely forgotten how to quiet down. To be fully present. To be still.

If you’ve ever faced burnout, you know how it feels to feel completely alone in a room full of people. To feel irreversibly disconnected. Sinking deeper into a numbness that’s comforting in a way… At least you don’t have to feel anymore. Right? It’s just too much, and too little at the same time. Limbo.

I’ve been in a season of burnout many times throughout my life. Most of the time it was the result of allowing an overwhelming amount of noise into my heart. I forgot one of the most fundamental rules of the music that has been my companion throughout my life, and that is: For every beat, there’s a rest. Balance. The rests within a musical score create anticipation. Breaths, if you will. The stillness in a melody gives more meaning to the notes that are played. Those are the scores that move us.

Sometimes life’s most significant penny drops happen when we quiet down. When we take a minute. Climb onto Father’s lap.

Reflect. Breathe. Rest.

Be still, dearest. Your penny awaits.