A Curse in the Morning


One early south Georgia morning

I know. That’s a startling title. But you’ll see why I used it in a minute.

In the old days, while I was cooking breakfast Charles often was the one who went upstairs on school mornings to call the children. Being a very upbeat cheerful guy, he would climb the steps singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh, what a beautiful day…” He was always mystified at the utterly negative responses he got, not only from our two, but later from our grandchildren as well.

As adults our children still laugh about how awful it was when Daddy came up the stairs singing or whistling. “Why did you have to be so cheerful?” they ask.

Until recently he still didn’t understand. Then one day he came in the kitchen chuckling.

“I just read Proverbs 27:14 which says, ‘He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.’ All this time I wondered why my good cheer didn’t rub off on the kids. Now I guess I’m learning good cheer is not always an appropriate attitude.”

Dear insightful author Eugenia Price wrote a book years ago titled “No Pat Answers” in which she addresses the problem of how to relate to folks who are unhappy. It doesn’t help a very sad person, she said, to have someone slapping him on the back and telling loud jokes, or recounting to him what he needs to do to fix his problem. Instead, it’s better to be sad with them, help them bear their sadness by sharing it. Maybe that means even the short lived “sadness” of extricating oneself from the cozy bedsheets should be met with a similar mood.

Back to the title “Curse in the Morning”—Some folks rise every morning with energy and enthusiasm viewing even cloudy or foggy mornings as “beautiful.” Others are slower to reach high gear and just need a little time to coast toward being cheerful. Some like eggs sunny side up, others want only a bagel or nothing. Some start their day with a whistle, others long for blessed quietness or, in the case of teenagers, a loud radio, not loud parents.

According to Ecclesiastes, there is a time for mourning and a time for joy. To use a homonym, there’s also time for “morning” and time for noon.

So what is a cheerful soul to do when meeting faces of gloom and doom? I guess you spend your whistles and buoyancy on the pets. Cats and dogs are always ready for good cheer. They’re always ready for breakfast too! Anyway, they can’t read Proverbs and don’t know about that “curse in the morning” so, for them, anytime is a good time for joy.

Lest you read this article as putting down optimism, know that one of my favorite verses is “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) The Lord wants us to rejoice but also to be compassionate towards those who can’t.

I love sunrises. Songs of birds and whistles of cheer are uplifting to us any time of the day–well, maybe not in the middle of the night. Is that the consideration here? Maybe some folks just don’t switch from night to day as quickly as others.

I think I’ll grab a cup of coffee and go talk to the cats.



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