#StopLookListen

 

I tuned into what I playfully call the morning S.H.E.I.T. (Steve Harvey’s Empowering, Inspirational Testimony) at six o’clock as I got dressed.

“Be grateful today for what God has already done for you, and you make room for a whole lot more,” he said. “People think they can will themselves to do anything, but get in touch with God. God can make things happen.”

I was out the door by six-thirty, and booting up the computer at my desk shortly after seven.  I checked e-mail, checked the fax machine, and drafted a to-do list. Getting to work earlier felt better. I could draft the statement Madame Senator requested and have that out the way before nine. Victory e-mailed me an announcement for a job opening at the U.S. Department of Labor. I deleted it. God has me where He wants me, I thought.

I called The Senator’s house about seven-fifty.  Her housekeeper answered.

“Good Morning Ms. Shephard. How are you this morning?” I said cheerfully.

“Good Morning.  You’re started bright and early,” she said.  “Hold on. I think she’s helping her brother get dressed.”

Madame Senator has been taking care of her brother since he had a near-fatal stroke a few years ago.  She moved him into her home because she believes families should take care of their own.

“Oh, that’s ok. I don’t need to speak to her. Just let her know I faxed over her statement on freedom of speech, and I got her edits on the book forward she faxed,” I said.

“I’ll let her know. She may be coming in late today.  I think she’s going to have to take June to the hospital,” she said.  “He had a bad fall this morning.”

“O.k. If she needs to reach me, I’m in the office,” I said. “Have a blessed day!”

“Thank you, and you, too, sweetie.”

I e-mailed Chris, “I’m off to a better day. Thanks for dinner. Love you much.” Then I e-mailed Victoria, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the…”

She replied promptly, “Rock and roll.”

I replied, “Have you made an appointment to go to the doctor?”

“Got my grands. No time.”

“Make time. Promise?”

“Will try.”

I pulled my tennis shoes out from under the desk, laced them up, and went for a walk along the National Mall for exercise.  Madame Senator once mentioned that she had made that her morning ritual when she first began working in Congress.  She would race-walk up and down the National Mall first thing in the mornings, then lift weights in the congressional gym in the evenings. I picked up the blackberry to connect it to my pants, but set it back on the desk. I would still be back before the office officially opened at nine. I could still have the papers read and clipped before Madame Senator got in since she would be late.

Nia was coming in as I was leaving.

“Hey Nia. I’m going out for a walk.  If Madame Senator calls, I just went to the bathroom,” I said.

“You got your Blackberry, right?”

I shook my head, and raised my hands.

“What if…”

“I won’t be gone long,” I assured her.

Traffic was still thick along Pennsylvania Avenue. Large groups of students descended buses pulled up in front of some of the congressional buildings.  Tours would not begin until ten, but groups arrived early to meander around the National Mall, mapping out the variety of free museums they would also visit.  I remembered the Summers my parents bought us to the nation’s capitol to visit museums and sit on the U.S. Capitol, where we enjoyed dipping our hands in the large concrete water fountains. I faced the National Monument, tilted my head up to the sun, closed my eyes and enjoyed the tickle of a gentle breeze wash over me.

“Thank you God for bringing me here,” I thought. I sucked in a deep breath, relaxed my shoulders, and walked toward the Washington Monument chanting, “Thank you God.”  I noticed black crows and gray pigeons overhead.  I heard the roar of traffic and a siren in the distance. I noticed a butterfly, and a swath of dragonflies. As I headed back to the office, I noticed a couple of dead ducks in the reflecting pool.

 

  • What are your morning rituals?
  • How do those reituals benefit your day?
  • When you reflect on your life, do you see beliefs, practices, issues and concerns that are – or should be – dead in the water?
  • What will you do with the “dead ducks” in your life?
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