Friday, January 28, 2011
The Last of a Series of Epiphany Posts on Being Human: on rhythm
One of the first things you learn about children when you have one of your own is that routine IS everything! The child does so much better when things are routine, when there is a regular rhythm and all the small things happen in usual ways. Sometimes the pain of disorienting the child can be enough to keep parents from wanting to do things that would normally be fun. It is just easier to stay home.
I am a long long way from my baby days - but the need for rhythm is still deep inside me. When people have regular repeated ways of sharing routines and rhythms something like meaning is added to life. My experience is that it isn't the occasional huge events that make us calmly sane and richly belonging. It is ordinary planned patterns.
Today a young single father with boys, 2, 4 and 18 told me that on Fridays he has a complete routine. They all go to McDonald's for lunch so the little ones can scramble through the play area, and then at supper he picks a movie (today it is going to be Marmaduke) and brings home pizza and it is the only night of the week that they eat around the tv instead of at the table. I know for fact that his kids will remember these routines with warmth in their heart. Something happens when we do things over and over together.
That is why I go to church. Some people go to church out of obligation, or to be seen, or to please God or to get a fabulous message - I go to church to practice my faith with other believers. I go to say things I don't say anywhere else, to belong. In this sense, the service doesn't have to be particularly good, the worship can be routine, and I am not looking for amusement. I go, over and over, to sit beside other believers, to speak my faith in unique ways and to belong there. Pretty routine stuff. But somehow it piles up over time.
I have other rhythms. Some may seem silly to you. But they make my life meaningful and gentle.
It is part of being human - from birth to old age.