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morning breath

i know i may be in the minority here, but i love mornings. well, perhaps i should be a bit more specific: i do not love the mornings before coffee. before coffee (b.c.), mornings are a russian roulette game of trying to walk down the hall to the kitchen without running into the wall, stepping on a plastic dinosaur, or peeing in the bathtub. i'm not a fan of b.c. mornings.
but once the coffee hits, i warm up to the prospect of the rising sun. i love the quiet of the house. i love the time alone with my thoughts and with God. i love the opportunity to crack open the bible and my journal. i love the warm creamy goodness of the morning's coffee ushering me into a growing sense of awareness. i love the way the sun stays low in the sky for a bit, making my house and my yard look like a different place for about an hour or so. it seems to me to be a holy time.
and then i often hear jack calling my name. he has this thing about one of us coming to get him out of bed. i don't really mind it because it is one of those parent/child moments that i cherish. someday i'll wish for it. he calls out from his bedroom with increasing volume until i finally respond and come into his room. inevitably, i can't resist his little cuddly morning cuteness, so i crawl into bed next to him to cuddle for a minute or two. and then it hits me like a ton of bricks: WOW does my kid have some kickin' morning breath. it's enough to take your breath away if he hits you with a full frontal exhale. like jumping into arctic waters, or getting slapped in the face with carcass of a dead animal, it is more than mildly unpleasant. my hair curls. my eyes water. i choke out some words about how his night was and if he had any dreams and whatnot but i am mostly consumed with my own struggle for survival in the face of what appears to be an open gate to hell itself.
the process basically repeats itself with my younger son, before we all shuffle off to the kitchen for breakfast (yum...let's eat). i'm sure many of you have your own experiences with morning breath, as it seems to be a pretty universal problem. bill nye (the science guy) can explain it to you here, if you really want to know, but this daily dose of death in the mouth makes me think about things bigger than bacteria.
as i already mentioned, i get up in the morning, stumble to the coffee, and then spend some time with God. i wonder what my 'breath' smells like when i first open up the bible. i'm thinking about the steelers and what i have to do today, and i'm still feeling guilty about how i raised my voice the night before and wishing i hadn't stayed up so late to see the battle of helm's deep for the 450,000th time. all of this is on my mind while i skim some 2nd samuel and try to pray. and i just have to wonder: does God get a whiff of the odor coming off of me and wince in pain? i have to believe that my spiritual breath is pretty rank and rotten when i start running my mouth in prayer in the morning.
but here's the thing: do i love my kids any less for their stinky breath? nope. actually, i squeeze them even tighter and hold them with a love that goes deeper in me than i know how to describe. i don't care what their stupid breath smells like. i love them, and not only that, but they sought me out in the morning, calling "daddy!" from their beds. their pajamas could be filled with maggots for all i care, i'm going to pick them up and hold them against me and put my face against the top of their heads (being careful to avoid having my nose in any proximity to their mouths) and breath them into my heart again, as if i had forgotten them in the darkness.
and if this is how i feel as a human father with all sorts of selfishness and brokenness in my love, how much more? how much more does God - our perfect heavenly father - embrace us, holding us close with a love that the whole universe celebrates with praise? how much more? when we get up in the morning and call out to our abba, our daddy, how quickly can God run to the door?
how deep is the father's love for us? deep enough to overlook even the strongest case of morning breath, i can tell you that.


Rachel said…
In all truth...I actually like the stinky morning breath from the kiddos. (NOT the husband, though...or myself) Ever since our first child was born, I have loved that cozy, cuddly, slightly disoriented hug right out of the crib. And a sleepy kiss in the morning!!!! Melts my heart every time! Even as they get older and the breath more funky, I (like you) cherish those few sweet moments in the morning before the madness of the day starts.

Good analogy with our Father and our own stinky a.m. self. I would ever hold our childrens malodorous nature against them and I pray God never holds it against me!
Crafty P said…
great perspective. man, what kind of coffee do you drink?

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