Sunday, September 7, 2014

There's something to be said for routine

These three words evoke joy, excitement, anticipation and trepidation: back to school.

Yes, it happened this past week. The freedom of running around the neighbourhood with friends all day and staying up late has given way to routine and schedules. Back to bedtimes. Back to waking up on time. Back to making lunches. Back to homework. Back to school.

And it's back to blogging after a little summer hiatus.

We tend to mourn the end of summer. Not just because it's back to school; the days are getting shorter and some people are starting to use the s-word already (that'd be snow, clean up your mind). We seem to mourn the loss of freedom, or at least the perception of the loss of freedom, to some degree.

But there's something to be said for the constraints of routine—specifically the routine of my prayer life.

This summer we went camping for a week. Now, camping is where routine doesn't exist. Camping alters the space-time-continuum. Watches and clocks are rendered useless. You're on camping time.

One of the uniquely shaped twisted trees in the
lodgepole pine forest of Cypress Hills Provincial Park

One of the benefits of camping time is you have no schedules. There is no bedtime because you need to spend a good amount of time by the campfire, and it doesn't get dark until 10:30 or 11 pm. No bedtime means no alarms—except those four tiny human alarms, but even they started sleeping in, respecting the rules of camping time. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are mere guidelines for eating. You kinda feel like a hobbit having second breakfast and other made-up mealtimes just because you can.

Unfortunately, the victim in this timeless universe is my spiritual life. Sure, I go into it with good intentions. Keep, even increase, my regular prayer time. Pray the rosary more. Catch-up on some spiritual reading. Just hang with my buddy Jesus for a while each day. Re-read the summa. After all, I'm on camping time. I can do it all. (OK, I didn't have any intention of re-reading the summa. And "re" may be a little misleading since I haven't read it. Mere symmantics.) But you know what they say about good intentions. No? Look it up.

So the return to routine is often what my spiritual life needs. I set aside the necessary time each (most) morning. Nighttime family prayer returns in full force. I turn to Jesus throughout the day, just knowing He is there loving me, forgiving me, strengthening me.

Oh, how I love camping time. But there's something to be said for routine and a healthy soul.

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