Some mornings, when the alarm clock starts its shrill beeping, I just tap the snooze button and keep on sleeping. Some mornings, I pop right up out of bed, dress in two minutes and get right to whatever it is I have to get right to that morning. Some mornings, I groan, flop over and slap the snooze button then repeat as necessary until I’m at that absolute last decision point, “Do I feel lousy enough to use up a precious sick day or am I going to drag my worthless carcass out of bed and go to work?” Those mornings feel more like moanings, which also goes to show how important a single consonant can be in a word. “I’d like to buy an ‘a’ and throw that ‘r’ away, please.”
This morning, the alarm sounded, I hit the snooze button and immediately started wondering, “Why is it called an ‘alarm clock?'”
Okay, look, it’s early, I’m sleepy and should not be held fully responsible for my initial cognitive response. Whether that gets me off the hook or not, I continued pondering that question.
Doesn’t an alarm signify danger? Isn’t it a warning of some kind? Isn’t the message, “Run! Save yourself! Something really awful is happening; you should escape as quickly as possible!” I’d say that flopping over and dozing off hardly seems like an appropriate response to imminent danger. If that was an alarm, seems like it failed pretty miserably to provoke the correct reaction.
Now the “warning” part, I can go along with. “Look, Buddy, that sweet rest of yours is pretty much over. You’re gonna have to face the fact that you are a responsible citizen, drag yourself out of that warm bed and go earn your daily bread, Bubba.” But we don’t call them “warning clocks,” do we?
If I can be granted the hypocritical indulgence of at least feigning optimism for a moment or two, shouldn’t we call them “welcome clocks” or something like that? “Good morning, my friend. I just want to be the first to welcome you to this new day, the day the Lord has made. It’s just waiting for you; the whole universe is conspiring to do you good today. Welcome, my friend, to all the good things it will bring.”
Maybe we could even see them as “invitation clocks,” inviting us to opportunities and challenges, precious moments and trials alike, always remembering that all of those things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. That certainly sounds to me like a better way to start my day.
Maybe, at the least, we could just call them “reminder clocks.” “Hey, look, sorry to be the one that has to remind you, but…” At least then we’re not in an adversarial relationship, expecting bad news and thinking only of danger and disaster every time the little fellow makes a noise.
I mean, seriously folks, how good can we feel about our lives when every single working day starts out with an alarm?