I have a new favorite time of day.
This morning I woke up at 4:20 a.m. No particular reason. I couldn't quite fall back asleep, but I wasn't dead tired either.
Slowly....I become aware of the quiet. The low hum of the refrigerator. Mike's slow, even breaths. And nothing else: No traffic, no neighbors, no airplanes, no wind. It is a stillness I think I can almost see if I tried.
I snuggle into Mike's shoulder. He nuzzles my forehead with his scruffy cheek. Then his arm creeps over me, tucking me closer to him. Knowing what a deep sleeper he is, I marvel: Even when he's sound asleep, he loves me!
It is so perfectly still, so peaceful, I realize that I don't want to fall asleep. I want to savor the weightlessness of this moment. That's what it is: I feel weightless. Completely free of every care, worry, stress, and deadline that punctuate my waking hours. I try to think of something to worry about. I can't. It's luxurious. I try to sleep. I can't. I'm just...here. In this enormous quietness.
I imagine that we are sleeping not in a condo, but in a craftsman bungalow, a sweet little cottage. It's in a wide, moonlit meadow. Gentle old trees surround this house. The sky is rich blue velvet spangled with a million diamond-bright stars. A couple of fawns and their mothers have come for a midnight snack in the meadow. I can see it all so clearly and lucidly, it's not dreamlike at all. And I hear Aslan's voice: "Fear not." Gentle, not demanding, it's an invitation, an invitation to join Him in this peace. This calm. This stillness."Fear not."
My eyelids flutter open, wondering if I will really see the Lion in the hallway, breathing out His gentle invitation: "Fear not." I remember last Sunday's sermon. I remember reading The Horse and His Boy. When Shasta is walking up the mountain, alone in the fog, terrified of the thing he can't see that is walking beside him, and when he reaches the crest and the fog lifts, he finds that it is Aslan! Every time I read it, I cry for the beauty of Aslan's gentle protection of the scared young waif. And now He is speaking to me, so gently, so lovingly, in the midst of all this un-quietness, inviting me to let go of my fears.
I snuggle deeper under the covers, pull the duvet over Mike's shoulders. "Fear not." I've been awake--awake? dreaming? what exactly is this?--for almost an hour and a half. The alarm will go off in a few minutes. I want to carry His words with me today: "Fear not."