Tricked by Darkness

Sunset. It’s Later These Days.

Who’s Springing Forward into Daylight Savings Time? I’m Stumbling

On Sunday, our first day of light lingering into the evening hours, I swelled with inordinate pride over the dinner I served. I wasn’t proud of the nicely roasted chicken I presented, its skin brown and crispy, its breast still juicy and tender, or of the pan-roasted potatoes and carrots that nestled beside it on the plate.

No. My pride didn’t derive from the menu; it soared because we were eating at six-thirty, and not at nine p.m.

You see, all winter long, darkness arrives about five p.m. at our house. When I return home from work it’s dark outside, so I turn immediately to preparing our dinner. My brain develops this rubric:

Start cooking dinner when it grows dark outside. Thanks to this rule, we typically suffer through a week or more of  fashionably late dinners when Daylight Savings Time returns each spring.

Which would be fine, if we were fashionable people. But we’re early-to-bed, early-to-rise folks, not at all chic in our daily schedule.

This year I determined to overcome the  DST-dinner-delay syndrome, as I’d come to think of it. The instrument of our deliverance: a roast chicken. I read a new recipe for roasting a chicken, which included brining the bird, rubbing compound butter between the skin and flesh of its breast, and dislocating the wings so they stayed tucked behind the bird, protected from overcooking. I added up the expected cooking time and my estimated prep time, and derived a starting hour for the project. I executed my plan with care.

We sat down to dinner at six-thirty eight. I wanted to cheer.

Monday morning, my soaring red balloon of pride deflated and sank, taken down by the pinprick of habit. We rose at five a.m., our usual time now that Rich telecommutes (this waking hour is a luxury for us; when he drove to the plant each day, the alarm sounded at four). I launched my usual morning routine: chat with my husband over the first mug of strong coffee, check email, rub dogs’ bellies, catch up on FaceBook, scratch dogs’ ears, write for an hour, shower, pack lunch, say good-bye, leave for work at seven-thirty.

Lost in my writing, I completely forgot that an hour of darkness had been tacked on to the morning. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and still darkness pressed in at the window. Next thing I knew a dull jangle at the back of my brain led me to check the clock, which launched me racing through the shower to avoid being more than my usual three-minutes-late to my office. (And see, that’s pridefulness right there–I’m always thinking that in my supreme efficiency, I can accomplish one.more.thing. before I leave for work.)

Darkness and my pride had teamed up to trick me again. Tuned to the dangers of waiting to cook until night dropped down, I planned ahead to thwart it. My great success on Sunday spread across my mind, a balm of complacency: I gave no thought to the differing hour of light’s morning arrival–and invited hectic scrambling into my Monday morning as a result. (And notice, please: Darkness did nothing beyond being itself–darkness.)

Sin will do that to me, too, especially when it teams up with my prideful heart. I’ll be rolling along, pleased that I avoided some bad impulse, thinking everything is just right, and then wham! I’m tripped up over some temptation I never spotted coming.

Lord, help me cleave to Your Light and be wary of the ever-encroaching darkness. 

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:   “Wake up, sleeper,    rise from the dead,    and Christ will shine on you.”Ephesians 5: 8-14 (NIV)