The City is Waking

I’m up early. So early I can hear birds in the “city” quiet. The number of people I see in what is normally a densely populated area can be counted on my fingers. I can pick any seat I want in the subway. The city is waking.

Along with the birds comes the early morning noise, so different from the usual chaos of sounds that it feels quiet. A man pushing up the heavy metal of a store front security shutter on a Mexican grill; a flower and fruit vendor moving heavy buckets filled with the day’s bouquets; far off shouts from a construction team setting out orange cones – the city is waking.

The city is waking. Waking to all its clamor and bustle. Waking to hundreds of people who will use its services. Waking to women in business attire, their conservative black suits void of flair, and waking to women who work in the service industry. It’s waking to men who hold positions of authority and men who work in the subway.

There are times when I envy those who live in rural areas, where acres of land stretch and God seems so close, so present. Areas where, in my ignorance of the challenges of life in that context, it would seem easy to write about faith.

The city with its cacophony of sounds, its potholes, its brokenness, its homeless, its smells – this is my space, my place where I write about faith.

The city is waking and every morning before and after it will do the same, readying itself for the demands of the day. As the city wakes, so am I to wake – but I don’t want to. Because it’s Monday. And I don’t look attractive in cubicle grey. And it feels like too much sometimes. And just as I think I can’t do it I see Mary, who sells the Boston Herald and we smile and say hi; and up two blocks by the Omni Parker Hotel, creator of Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls, I see Winston from Haiti and we greet each other like old neighbors; neighbors who don’t know each other well but find comfort in familiarity. The city, now made up of people, acts as a persistent alarm clock that cannot be turned off.

The city is waking. And as it wakes I walk and think and pray about faith waking. Faith waking to see with eyes wide open all that is around me; all that is known by God, all those who are loved by God, all those who desperately need God to enter their city world.

And with those thoughts I wake with the city, making a last stop to get my morning prescription of caffeine, dressed for the city “black as Hell, strong as death, sweet as love” coffee.

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9 thoughts on “The City is Waking

  1. I know a woman who moved to the country so that her children could learn to work the land and, through this, to worship God. It is a great concept and something that my children will miss out on, but what she is missing is people. Specifically, she is missing the diversity of people that you find in a city on a daily basis that you will not necessarily see at church on Sunday. Every family must choose how they raise their children, and we have chosen to be surrounded by God’s greatest creation, people, and then enjoy His majesty in nature on vacations.


    1. I think so much of it is about personality as well – I love the idea of working the land but I know my personality well enough to know that after a week I’d be ready for the potholes and crowded side walks! I think part of it for me is that the cities are where the immigrants and refugees are, so it’s a place where I feel most at home in this country. Thanks Anne!


  2. Indeed Marilyn. Those of us who sleep later miss out on some of the most wonderful and fresh hours of the day. I awaken to the singing of the birds as they awaken. Through antique stained glass windows (from an old church in Lynn, MA) the sun awakens and greets me. His power, glory, and majesty goes with me throughout the day and I can shout, “This is the day the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”


    1. That window sounds beautiful. Ever since I was a kid and we took long road trips, getting up before dawn to start, I have loved those early morning hours. Preferably when I’m well rested but it doesn’t always happen that way!
      Thank you for this wonderful reminder.


  3. I love that you know the names of the people you see every morning! That is a reflection of you and your heavenly Father!


  4. I love this post! Can almost hear, see, feel all that you described. I had to smile when you said it seems easy to write about faith in a rural setting; as one who lives in a rural setting and yet spends most of my time in the city, I feel exactly the opposite – how much easier to see the face of God when surrounded by reflections (people) wherever you turn! :)
    I want my faith to wake and rise each morning, settled in the deep knowing of God’s never-failing faithfulness. Thanks for this post!


    1. So true that we think it’s easier on the other side – the proverbial grass of faith is greener…! But it is the people factor for me as well. Thinking of you today.


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