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To Relish in Routine

Taylor and Anne May smile for a selfie
Taylor is a newlywed who spent her honeymoon galivanting around Ireland scoping out Marian Apparition sites and chasing highland cows in Scotland. Stateside, she shares life at L’Arche Jacksonville in Florida with her friends with and without disabilities who live together in community.

Their voices enter my room and I become a part of their conversation. My bedroom wall separates us, but I can hear each voice clearly and in turn. First, Mariusz poses a question: Mass on Sunday… Christ the King or Assumption?” Michael is quick to respond: “Christ the King!” Ann May doesn’t wait long, “Christ the King!” Exasperated and out of turn, Mariusz interjects: “Christ the King?! Same thing over and over and over again!” Larry, being the sensitive man that he is, offers a courtesy: “Um, Assumption?” I chuckled and my attention returned to the space that I was in.

Days later, I continue to let this scene play behind my eyes. I grin as I see it taking place. It is ordinary, but from within it our friends teach. At L’Arche, we have a general routine for each day and a rhythm to each season. Daily we can all count on eating, cleaning, and praying together. Throughout the year we have an array of shared holidays and our own traditions unique to L’Arche that we anticipate. While traditions are lovely, they can also be exhausting. And while routines create stability, they can also be a bore. So, as I hear the conversation again, and listen to Sunflower House discuss where to go to Mass on Sunday, I can identify with Mariusz. As an assistant I too crave change; however, some of our core members are more robust.

In G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy he illustrates several scenarios involving routine and invites the reader to question whether our routines are boring or if we who experience them are lacking. In this, I see Mike, Ann, and Larry’s decision to go to the same church every week, at the same time, and to sit in the same pew week after week after week. Again, this silly church debate scene repeats in my mind and while it plays I hear Chesterton’s voice explaining something about routine to me.

For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to… God says every morning ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon… it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but never got tired of making them. It may be that He has an eternal appetite for infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, but our Father is younger than we.

I realize that my whole life is made up of routines. My waking hours are scheduled around my sleeping hours. My chores are scheduled around my activities and everything is scheduled around when I eat! I can take a vacation from my daily routines, but they’re always around when I return and they make up the meat of my life. My friends at L’Arche are always teaching me and as I continue to share life with them perhaps I might learn how to relish in routine.

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