There will be mornings when life intrudes and you have to made decisions. These are the days that will test your system and shape it. They are bound to come. I'm having one this morning.
I'm at the kitchen table instead of my basement office. It is ten past eight instead of ten past five in the morning. I'm home late instead of going into my job. My younger daughter is asleep on the pullout couch instead of her bed. Yesterday she stepped on a board through which protruded two inches of drywall screw, an inch of which she drove through her shoe and the tender flesh of her foot. This all happened before seven last night. She, her mother, and I were came home from the emergency room close to one in the morning, all of us worn out, one of us still in a lot of pain. We made her as comfortable as we could on the pullout couch, my wife fixed up a terrible bed for herself on the love seat, I got out my computer and wrote lesson plans for a substitute teacher to give my class and then went to bed. It was after two before I slept.
This morning my wife and I were up before seven, groggy and stunned from all that had happened. A child's trauma becomes a kind of trauma for the parents and though this is minor compared to some of what I saw and heard at the hospital last night, it is still troubling and has knocked us off balance and out of our routine. No surprise. I came downstairs, emptied the dishwasher, but then instead of making coffee and taking it to the office with my pen to write Morning Pages, I picked up things in the kitchen, looked over the discharge papers, made a list of what I would need to do today to care for our girl, paid a bill that would soon be due, and tried to keep quiet enough to allow her to sleep. I greeted our older daughter and talked quietly with her, watched my wife get her work things together, scooped the litter, did whatever else seemed to need to be done. Other than my Morning Pages.
Getting out the computer, I opened my email and composed a message to family and friends telling the story of the night before. It took time to remember everyone to whom I needed to send the message. I wrote it, edited and revised it, then hit send. My first written words of the day were typed and not three pages long.
My older daughter caught a ride with a friend to school. I hugged her goodbye and watched her go. My wife packed her lunch and then said she was taking the dog for a walk before having to go to a training an hour away. I had expected to be walking the dog, but she insisted and took the dog with her outside. My younger daughter slept on in the den and I went to my living room desk, took three sheets of paper and my pen from there, brought them to the kitchen and sat down to write my pages.
Morning Pages are always the first thing I do each day and certainly the first writing of the day, except when they aren't. That happens only two or three times a year now for me. Over time doing my pages has taken precedence over almost any interruptions save emergencies of which I'm blessed to have very few.
Had I still been busy with the emergency this morning instead of just tired from dealing with it last night, the writing would have been pushed back. Still, even as I pushed it and dealt with the emergency I would be on the lookout for a time to begin writing. I see these things as breaks in the routine but not disruptions of the system, the way in which I now live. The process is resilient. It can withstand interruption. When my wife said she was taking the dog, my time was upon me and I started immediately. The process resumed. I went toward the comfort of Morning Pages.
In times of trouble I use the pages for reflection, solitude, peace in the storm, a return to normality. I wrote every day following my father's death. I wrote throughout my wife's cancer treatments. That's not moral fiber or dedication, so much as a selfish need to provide myself with the therapy of pen, paper, and routine.
There is no obvious, immediate return on writing three pages this morning. I'm more tired than when I started. My daughter's foot is still injured. There are still so many things to do. I wrote near the end of the third page the following: "I've maybe produced a draft of something for later, but who knows? And if someone cares about that, it isn't me. I'm in it for the long haul and to keep the process going come hell, high water, or drywall screws."
I keep to the daily habit, even when life intrudes and gets in the way. Good things come from that eventually. Some days almost right away.