Sweet, the happy chaos of the Christmas-in-July just past, as that amazing mix of personalities comprising family gathered at the Funny Farm to enjoy each other’s presence, and refreshing break from routine!
But to live that way always would fragment, frustrate, and exhaust me!
God: Out of, or In, Routine?
A retreat center I visit provides a great and needed service by “Getting you out of your routine to experience God,”—because our routines today tend to eclipse God’s presence and kill our awareness of Him. More blessed, however, is a home routine that keeps the way open to experience, and enjoy, God everyday. If we have to get out of our routines to experience Him, something’s lacking in our routines.
Soon I want to write about blessed “holy routines,” but now I’m just thinking how set daily patterns of housework, finance, daily living and giving and order-keeping leave margin for peace, for communion with the Lover of our Souls.
Ironic, but true: If that retreat center inviting people away from their routines didn’t carry out its own routines faithfully, it would have little or no blessing to offer. No retreat center worth its name operates without routines, but has a place for everything and everything is in its place. Meals cycle round at set times, as do gatherings for prayer and worship and insight sharing, and time slots for pursuing what enjoyment might compose any particular retreat’s theme (as, quilting, scrapbooking, soccer camp).
In my own little life right now, routine-disruption and object-displacement have been frustrating my efforts, wasting my time, trying my patience. I wander about searching for shoes, Bible, journal, scissors, and on and on—anything moved out of place at least once by my sleeping in a different room from usual, washing and dressing in a different bathroom, placing this sharp object or that poisonous compound out of tiny hands’ reach.
We needed all that displacement for the time just past, but that was a special case. Now I need to function without the repeated hindrances of seeking misplaced items and the undisciplined rolling away of the day’s time, lost forever.
Thank God, I did keep one (“holy”) routine, and mostly kept another. Rising early, setting the coffee a-brew, and settling down quiet alone with God, before all the day’s lively people-activity, gave spiritual and emotional ballast to the rest of each day. I also managed to spend time, most early afternoons, doing the “routine home-retreat” I’ve found so beneficial in the past few months and didn’t want to jettison.
Routine keeps us from “where-did-I-put-that-now?” scavenging, keeps our lives in sync with our body’s rhythms, levels us to steady, counteracts our cultural tendencies to ADD distractedness, keeps order in our lives, hearts, minds, spirits, emotions, even our relationships.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of daily routine.