Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Notes From My Knapsack 4-28-16

Notes From My Knapsack 4-28-16

Jeff Gill


Conversations at dawn



Sunrise is not everyone's favorite time of day.


There are morning people and night people, we're told, and while I'm skeptical of such a simple dichotomy in all things, let alone nocturnal preferences, it's a general pattern I'll accept for the moment.


Some folks are just not set up for an appreciation of the finer things early in the day. They question whether life is worth living for an hour or two after waking, and even coffee isn't enough to change their minds (poor souls).


That's fine, it means a little more peace and quiet as the sun rises, and April means I can come out on the front porch with a steaming mug and enjoy the train whistle in the distance down along Ramp Creek, echoing off the Welsh Hills behind me, birds singing overhead, and the occasional jake-brake rumble down on Rt. 16.


But I often do have conversations early in the morning, thanks to the complicated blessing of social media. I'll pick up the phone and check texts or e-mail, see which messaging platforms have a "ping" on them.


And it's often early in the morning, even more than late at night, I'll find myself advising or reacting or suggesting guidance for a friend or acquaintance who is going through a challenging situation. The full story seems to come out faster in a morning "talk" and the details go right to the bone more directly than they seem to at other times.


Maybe it's because it's a new day. Perhaps new light on a situation brings clarity, and a full day ahead gives impetus to honesty. I don't know, but I do know that many similar conversations that come up, in person and online, later in the day more often go in wide, free-ranging circles for some time before we get to where the inquiry or request is going.


And for my own prayer life, I think my morning devotions get real and go deeper with God than they do as I'm tumbling into sleep with a simple "thank you."


Anyhow, in my more religion oriented column that appears Saturdays in the Advocate, I recently talked about stepping back from social media during Lent. I couldn't call it a fast, really, because in 2016 it's almost impossible for me to do my work without using not only cell phones, but to monitor texts and email accounts and now also messaging services. Different people communicate through different platforms, and if you work in human services of any sort today you're just about obligated to keep up on multiple channels.


It was a good thing, though, for me to take on a practice for 40 days of not posting or commenting. That adaptation gave me a chance to use the devices, but also to step back and assess my relationship to how they influence my life.


Likewise, the Granville Public Library is again sponsoring "Turn Off Your Screens Week" May 1 to 7, which you can honor in whatever manner works for you, but they support by offering a variety of programs and activities, in the library building and around the community. Look up, get out, and be connected in new ways to the world around you! Check out the library webpage or Facebook for details.


And starting with the dawn of the last day of that week, on May 7 – the Great Granville Garage Sale returns, a chance to get stuff out of your house, money into your pockets, but also to support the Licking County Coalition for Housing through your $20 to become an official GGGS sale site and appear on the official map. Locations can still be purchased for $30 downtown; check their Facebook or webpage for info.


It all begins officially at 8:00 am, but you know some will be out, coffee in hand, at dawn…


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him what time works best for your coherence at or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.

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