As I continue to reflect on Psalm 59, I am mindful of the daily opportunity I have to start anew. With each sunrise, I can leave yesterday’s mistakes, fears and failings behind me. Of course, my tendency is to carry everything forward, remembering what that person said, or how I lost out on an opportunity. Even as the day begins, I can let all those things go. Today is a new day. I can make new choices.
Working with people in Kenya, we tried to help them focus on the present moment. That is hard to do when every waking moment is used to earn a daily living and take care of family members. We invited people to watch the sun rise. Waking up 15-30 minutes before sunrise, a person should sit in a quiet place in the dark, or a place they won’t be disturbed, where they will be able to see the sun or the sky as the sun rises. The focus should be on what can be seen, shadows, outlines. This can be done even in a place with streetlights, if the person is able to focus on the sky or away from the lighted area. As the sun rises, the darkness slowly fades away, shadows become objects, the sky becomes blue. If the sun is visible, we have to look away.
People were asked to do this once or twice before our next gathering, and to reflect on what they experienced. Our objective is that they would let go their stream of thoughts temporarily and experience the present moment. The reflections were much deeper and richer than I had anticipated. One person felt strengthened by seeing the new daylight that he felt he could move beyond his trauma and live more fully. Another felt a calmness before beginning her day and decided to make this a daily practice. One person reflected on how he understood that no matter how dark life seems, there is a promise of light to come.
It seems that during this pandemic, each day there comes a moment that I wonder if things are going to change, if there will be an “end.” What would that “end” look like? Will we return to “normal”? And then I remind myself that the sun rises every day. Every day, the darkness turns into light, there is an end and a new beginning. Each new day is a new opportunity to make a different choice, to mend a wrong, to try again.