By: Staci Stallings
I grew up on a dairy farm. It wasn’t one of these massive things they have now. This was a family owned dairy, which means the family WORKED. During school, I was usually at the barn by 7. Okay, 7:05, but who was counting? I can’t say that I just loved the work because frankly it was not much fun. It was loud, smelly, sometimes dangerous, and always WORK.
Since it was family-owned-and-operated, my parents were out there too. One of the things I remember most was that many mornings my mom who did the outside chores while I worked inside the barn would come in the barn. “Come here.”
That was always just for me. And so, together we would escape.
Now I always had a fascination of sunrises and sunsets. I don’t know why, but that was just part of me. Mom knew that, and now thinking back, probably shared that fascination. So together we would go outside, face east, and pray together. The prayer stuck with me. It was very short, and it wasn’t until many years later that I even learned where it had come from.
It wasn’t a prayer we said in church, but I knew and know that prayer by heart in a way I’m not sure that any other prayer is a part of me. It goes like this:
Thy will be done today.
Today is a day of completion.
I give thanks for this perfect day.
Miracle shall follow miracle,
And wonders shall never cease.
I suppose that’s the kind of prayer you should pray at sunrise. It’s something of a blessing of the day.
That prayer has gotten me through many tough moments. The day as a young teacher I was called into the office to defend myself against an angry parent, that prayer was my safe place. The day I had a biopsy that turned far too serious in seconds, that prayer sustained me with God’s loving hope and promises. The one day that I could not get the prayer out was as I lay with my children the night of 9/11. Getting to “perfect” was impossible.
The thing is that prayer and those sunrises are now being passed on to my children. We leave for school early each morning and our drive is lit as the sun comes up. That one is in our standard prayers.
Prayers and sunrises. They kind of go together for me—unless I happen to be blessed enough to be sleeping at that time, which for me is pretty much the same thing as praying, but that’s for another time.