Routine – it’s so comforting and so unsettling at the same time. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I want to thank it, and I want to banish it from my life. Earth revolves around routine, patterns, cycles, predictability. But sometimes no matter which way you try it on, earth just doesn’t fit.
My boots crunched frozen snow early this morning as I headed into work, the same way they crunched frozen snow as I left work tonight. Walking in with the sunlight glinting off the snow in an array of sparkles, I thought of how it would seem like no time before I was heading out over the same path in the shadows of the evening. Sandwiched in between my frosty walks from car to hospital and hospital to car is a day jam-packed with crazy and unpredictable. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s packed with mellow and predictable. But whatever it is, it’s packed, it’s routine – I’m used to both, so I can handle either. My days are routine, and I like having the assurance that I have a job to go to every day, where I’m getting to know the people and my role there, and things are, in a certain sense of the word, safe. I’m periodically fascinated with the sense that there can be so much change in someone’s life, yet the feeling of settling in and adjusting is so natural. Eventually something that was so foreign can become so familiar. Conversely, I’m fascinated with the thought that even within a sense of regularity, there can be a trapped feeling, like I am not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be somewhere else. And what am I doing in this rut anyway?
. . .
In my predictability I feel safe, but I long for something else. It reminds me of that verse in Ecclesiastes, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.” It also brings to mind some of the lyrics in the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, “Drop Thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease; take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace.” Routine is peaceful sometimes, but routine can be stressful. In a routine or out of a routine, I want to experience God’s peace that passes understanding. Whatever seems good, whatever seems bad, whatever seems boring, whatever seems exciting, whatever seems safe, whatever seems scary, whatever challenge might come in front of me, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. Whatever is sad, whatever is happy, whatever is horrific, whatever is splendid, it’s all just “the dark before the morning.” So as I crunch in and out of work during these cold winter months, as I crunch in and out of life and the stages it brings, whether I’m enjoying it or not, I’m always happy to remember it’s not forever.