The Familiar

I woke before five this morning. It has been a long, hard week of on call duties so you would have thought the weekend would be a time to relax and unwind; to catch up on those lost hours of sleep. Not a bit of it. So here I am writing this post before I get up shortly to take Adam to rugby training. An hour to myself before the chaos of another full weekend cranks into gear and whisks us away.

I am wide awake yet so weary that I can barely keep my eyes open to type these words. It has been a warm night so the fan in our room provides a comforting aural background. It hums like the engine of an aeroplane. I can close my eyes and imagine that I am 40,000 feet in the air on my way to faraway lands on breath taking adventures. Yet when I open them I haven’t moved an inch and am surrounded by familiar sights.

The familiar is my foundation, my bedrock, my cornerstone. It anchors and steadies me. Without it I would be swept away on currents of naivety and insecurity. Some regard the familiar as frustrating and stifling but it is my lifeblood. My familiar keeps me rooted to the truth. This stability feeds my ability without which I would wither into a ball of self pity and apathy. The tree of life never moved so why should I?

This is the golden hour when my head is clear and the words flow effortlessly. The arrows I draw from my quiver fly straight and true, striking their targets with unfailing accuracy. Words are my weapons just like silence is my enemy. When I write I aim to shock and awe the darkness which previously mocked and gnawed at my self belief. When you allow the light to enter your life you can never truly be alone again.

The gentle humming of the fan offers a calmness that allows me to flex my creative joints. It is a benign noise unlike the killer bee swarms of intrusive thoughts and compulsive actions which used to reverberate around my mind morning, noon and night. The familiar is my ally. The thoughts remain but then so do I. Intact and secure. For now? For ever? I cannot say but the familiar is a strong, impenetrable door which keeps the creatures of the night at bay. They snarl and they prowl outside, sniffing and scratching. But they cannot enter.

I am tired but I am sober and alert. Five years plus since I jerked awake to cruel hangovers and crueller memories of the night before and the damage done. I awaken now and look forward with hope and anticipation as opposed to over my shoulder with fear and trepidation. The familiar is crisp and clear and comforting. It is my now and it allows me to reflect upon the wreckage of my past from a safe distance. Those demons have taught me well. I have the scars to prove it.

The familiar is life and there is nothing dull or boring about that. It is ripe with opportunity. It saddens me that it took years of stumbling around in the dark to reach where I am today. Have I left it too late? How I wish I had those wasted years back. But without that waste I would be unable to taste the dazzling potential that lies just out of reach. The familiar is my bridge to what would have been impossible back then. The familiar is a weaver of dreams.

The familiar allows me each day to sift through the gilt and shame of the past to uncover nuggets of wisdom and knowledge. My past was a battleground but I emerged from it victorious and intact. I had to endure the horrors of war in order to enjoy the peace of the familiar. It was my reward and I cling to it every day with pride and faith. It will carry me forward to where I need to be. I need the familiar like an addict needs the needle.

I will get up soon. This hour has been well spent. I hope you think so too and awaken in your own bed surrounded by those you love. They say the truth will set you free but you can only recognise the former and appreciate the latter if you have first been exposed to the lies and served time as their prisoner. The familiar is the key that will unlock your cell door. It is your golden ticket. It is your next breath. Seize it. Cherish it. Protect it. It is you.

How do you spend the first hour of your day?

Have you discovered the power of the familiar?

Where are you at today on your journey?

53 thoughts on “The Familiar

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  1. Congrats on 5 years. I too write my first hour awake. The weekend means work for me. And the familiar, it took me getting sober to appreciate it. I am 3 years and 2 months sober. Yay!

    Liked by 4 people

          1. Preferably beer or Capt. Morgans but you could smell those heavily so turned to vodka. You could still smell that, just not as much.

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  2. I treasure the first hour of my day, spend with some meditation, coffee and writing. I’m actually a little apprehensive about vacation because I won’t have my laptop to write. But I will have my handwritten journal so that will have to substitute. I enjoyed your post. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a fantastic post! The first hour of my day begins with gratitude for all I have and a quiet vow to myself to remain sober, of which I have 1 year, 10 months, and 8 days of sobriety, from there I hit my workout room for some sweat time, then my hubs and I have breakfast together and plan our day!

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  4. Congratulations. Five years is awesome. I’ve been sober for 16 years. I have to admit I haven’t spent the first hour of my time positively. Long story. However I use the time to drink coffee, read blogs of others, pray etc. I’m slowly but surely beginning to find my way. My journey the past seven years has been tumultuous however I e recognized the pit I’ve been in and every day I’m climbing out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful post. Your words help me. Can anyone who has reached middle-age look back without regrets? But you are staring the past in the eye and finding “nuggets of wisdom and knowledge.” May I do the same! “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten…”

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  6. My first hr of day on weekends love to spend in silence with a cup of coffee an writing a blog which can’t really do that during the week when I got 3 little ones trying to get ready for school…at least on weekends there sleeping in an I have my quite time🙌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In the morning, I usually have a short prayer time (The bulk of my devos I do at night), make my bed and stuff, take care of the animals, work out, and eat breakfast. We have coffee on Hump Day and Saturday as a treat ☕
    I agree that the morning is one of the best times of day. I can adapt to change well, but I still like being in a routine. The familiar is a happy, peaceful place ✌❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Stephen, Your words paint a wonderful story as surely the artist’s brush paints the wonder of a flower. How I envy your writing talent! My words never flow effortlessly, they come through hard work, laboring desperately to move the reader to a new point of understanding. Keep writing, dear friend, and I will keep reading! God bless you and your family everyday!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Beautifully written. Congratulations. It is an achievement to reach 5 years. It is raining here and lunch time so I put out a post since it’s quiet. Takes my brain a bit to wake up. Mornings are not my friend. I envy those like you who can think so clearly and vividly at a early hour!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I WANT to become a morning person or better at it. I tend to fall asleep when the birds start chirping…so I suppose there is an argument for being a morning person there somewhere haha.

    Keep walking forward.

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  11. I am a morning person too. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I read or write and sometimes I waste it on silly computer games. But I always enjoy it and I am a little sad when everyone else gets up and life starts to move around me. Your writing is inspiring, keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Beautifully written. I have not necessarily suffered from addiction, but from cancer, therefore my perspective also has a stark before and after. Before cancer, I took so much about the familiar for granted. Now, it is my favorite space. Thank you for putting into words the gratitude one feels for a true second chance in this life to discover what really matters. Your writing gift and willingness to share have blessed me this morning, and I look forward to reading more!
    -Stacey

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Right … well, ok. My confession is that I don’t pray, blog or go for a run in that golden hour and frankly I think by the sounds of things that I should. Clearly I’m missing a trick here. What I do is to creep out of bed, make tea for the Colonel and me and then crawl back in and just relish the warmth and that wonderful feeling of just … closeness … before it’s time to get up and real life crashes into our quiet little world. It’s bliss, but perhaps not very productive. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very deep and inciting post. The familiar keeps all of us grounded. That is the reason we have families and pets. No man is an island. I like that you wrote that the tree of life never moves so why should you. I took another look at the verse in Genesis again and realized for the first time that the tree of life has been present on earth all along. The cherubims guard the way to it. Wow!. Every day I learned something new. The Word of God is simply amazing. Blessings.

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      1. You are welcome, Stephen. You are a very deep person and that is the reason your blog is successful and your book will be a best seller also. Have a blessed week in the Lord.

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