So at 5:45am my husband, daughter and I climb out of bed. We pull on sweaters and jeans over our pyjamas, and wander out of our door, across two roads, to the beach.
The early morning ocean glistens. Often we see dolphins, sometimes even whales. And a handful of bronzed surfers. It's a breathtaking sight. This time of year there are many holiday makers out and about. People from Sydney and Melbourne, who get up at the crack of the Queensland dawn to view the beach, get fit by going for a jog and then have a coffee to relax.
I sit on the sand next to my family. My daughter plays with shells or seaweed or builds a sandcastle. And she squeals in delight at the sight of her tiny footprints in the flat and smooth morning sand.
Often after all our fun at the beach, we head off to a coffee shop and indulge in 1x babychino and 2x lattes before my husband goes off to work.
It truly is a splendid way to start the day.
But sometimes it is during these beautiful mornings that I notice an ache deep inside of me. It's a restlessness of spirit; a longing that is not satisfied.
Some days I try to repress the ache. I don't allow myself to feel anything, the good or the bad. I become numb, disengaged. Yet repressing my desire is usually short-lived.
So I try to satisfy this longing with things. Things like; a good coffee, a picturesque family outing to the beach, by exercising to get fitter. Or by reorganising my life so I can be a more successful parent and student and lover.
Pope Benedict called such things as 'false infinities'. He described them as things that promise to satisfy our longing for the infinite but never can because they are finite. (Pope Benedict, Rimini, 19-25 August 2012 - infinite longings being unfilled with finite things.)
You see, my longing is for infinite things. My longing is for the people I've lost, to understand mystery, for control over my life; for God.
I cannot repress this longing. Nor can I satisfy this longing with anything temporal, with any early morning sunrise, or coffee. But I'm learning the pain becomes more manageable as I practice acknowledging, feeling, talking about, and simply dwelling on the infinite things I desperately long for.
The psalmist knew what it was like to embrace his longing for the infinite. He longed for God and wrote, 'O God, my God, for you I long at break of day; my soul thirsts for you, my body pines for you, like a dry land without water (Psalm 63 verse 1)
Danielle Stott lives on the Gold Coast. She has a degree in Theology and has just started studying again.
Danielle's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/d-and-d-stott.html