by: Sami Case
Last year for lent I gave up sleeping in.
I wouldn't categorize myself as a morning or night person. I can stay up late or wake up early, but I do love to sleep, and it is something I generally dislike giving up.
So that's what I did. For Jesus.
And to hold myself accountable, I decided to capture a time-lapse of the sunrise every morning, for forty mornings, and post them on Instagram (#samis40sunrises).
On the first day of lent, I grabbed my camera and tripod, and headed up a hill at 5am to watch the sun come up.
There was no sun on the first morning, or for the next two, and I remember wondering how I could possibly follow through… forty days is so long. But on the fourth day, my sister joined me atop a mountain we call Heartbreak Hill, and we saw the sun come up above our town. The skyline went from dark to day, and I knew that what I was doing was pretty special.
Those forty days were more fun than I ever thought waking up at 5am would be. For about half of the rises, I had company from my family and friends. A lot of my favorite moments with them were made because of this project. They sat through rain, fog and the early spring awakening of mosquitos and gnats to see the sun come up with me, and I could not be more thankful.
I appreciate the morning so much more now. It is a privilege to watch the sun come up. You can watch the sun set every day, from wherever you are, but only a few people actually watch the sunrise. The 5am commuters, the physically fit, the people giving up sleep for lent, and their very best friends.
The final sunrise was on Easter morning at the mountaintop home of a lovely couple from my home church who have been hosting a sunrise service for over twenty-five years. Everyone who watched a sunrise with me gathered there, and we all saw the last one together, while listening to our pastor talk about the day Christ had risen.
It takes a lot of love to wake up early for someone, and an absolute undying love to do it multiple times a week, for six weeks.
A year later, I am still so appreciative of all of the people who helped me do lent. Sunrises are our thing now, and watching one brings me right back to the cool mornings we spent together, as some of the first people up on the west coast.
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