Blogging from A to Z Theme: Bringing Me Joy
As a girl at boarding school, I loved singing in morning chapel. We often sang hymns welcoming the new day, and our dear headmaster Mr. Murray’s favorite, Lord of All Hopefulness, Lord of All Joy, was one of mine as well. There was one morning hymn, though, whose tune I liked but some of whose words never failed to annoy me. The first verse went:
New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.
I supposed it was okay to be thankful that one hadn’t died in one’s sleep, but wondered why the daytime was privileged over the night in this way. Why wasn’t one also considered alive and conscious while sleeping? Later, at university, I made a little study of the waking and sleeping states of consciousness as explored in the Upanishads, and found that, as in modern sleep and dream research, they had considered the sleeping states to be both conscious and necessary, fulfilling essential functions.
I love the night. It’s a peaceful time when the chatter of the world is stilled, and a measure of calm restored. I do not fear darkness or associate it with evil or death. After all, half the day is dark; why on earth should we dismiss half our lives? When the sun sets, a precious peace descends, cloaking the world in darkness. Only in darkness is the night sky illuminated, the heavenly bodies that are invisible by day emerging in all their glory. Also by night, thoughts that are dispelled by day emerge, demanding to be examined and resolved. These processes are carried out in blessèd sleep, balm of hurt minds. . .that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, as Shakespeare put it in Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2.
For good measure, I leave you with a handful of songs celebrating the night.
Night Shift (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
Whatever Gets You Through the Night (John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band)
Because the Night (Patti Smith Group)
In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett)
All Through the Night (Welsh Folk Song, Ar hyd y nos)
Night-time brings me joy.