Mno waben. Mno waben.
I held my three year old son in the early morning light, held him in the middle of my room as he stumbled in after waking up from his night of rest.
We are learning our language, the language of the Potawatomi people, words that were carried for centuries by word of mouth and then put down on paper in a readable and writable language.
The words carry so much in themselves. The stories, the imagery, the use of body language to tell the tale– this is how the world has worked for centuries.
We continue the tradition today.
It will take a good long while to be comfortable in speaking the Potawatomi language. We sit down at the computer and we recite the words again and again, hoping they stick.
We aren’t quite learning through immersion, but we’re trying to immerse ourselves, anyway. So in the mornings, I try to say mno waben, good morning to both of my boys.
Literally, it means that good time when things become visible.
So I wake with my sons and we proclaim that it is good for things to come into the light. It is good for our lives to become visible to the light of day.
We spend so much of our time running.
We run because we don’t know how to slow down.
We run from our pain, our worries, our sorrows.
We run from the things that make us uncomfortable.
We run from intimacy, from vulnerability.
Sometimes we run from God.
But in the morning, we wake to find that things are made visible– and it is good.
It is good that we lay our souls bare to the light.
It is good that we say hello to another dawn.
It is good that we journey into an awareness that we are not alone, and therefore, we are invited to know ourselves, to know each other, to know God, to know this world that we inhabit.
What if, when we wake in the morning, we call each other into the light? What if we beckon each other into a kind of living that says, you are good, and it is good to become visible, to become known, to be seen.
I think our days would fall into place a little differently.
I think our interactions with each other would be a little gentler.
I think the way we see ourselves would become a little clearer,
and maybe, just maybe, we’d finally stop running.
We’d embrace the light.
We’d lay ourselves bare at the dawn of the day, and carry the light of a benevolent world into our every encounter.
Mno waben, friends.
Go now into the visible light.