Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am Thankful for Routine

My life is full of the unexpected. You just can’t schedule your own crises, much less the unexpected traumas of others. Pastors are specialists in facing crises, keeping in mind that facing them seldom requires solving them. It is often enough to just be present with the wounded as a reminder of God’s presence with them. But the ministry of presence is most significant when the need is most unexpected. Crises erupt at the most inopportune times.

Education operates on cyclical time. School years are divided into semesters and breaks of varying lengths tied to holidays and a forgotten agrarian calendar. Like the seasons of the year the world of education cycles forward in predictable pulses and lunges. There is a routine to the cycle that ensures repetition and progress. As I noted in an earlier post, the beginning of the fall semester is a season of renewal and excitement for me.

I find routine very comforting, the routine of recurring seasonal cycles, the routine of a linier work schedules, and the routine of daily events. My routine extends to what I order at local restaurants: chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel, chimichanga at any Mexican restaurant, etc..

Stated in the negative, I don’t like interruptions. I guess that’s the reason I married Cheryl; if I would have been left to myself I would have drifted into the doldrums of meaningless existence. As it is I am joined to one who’s idea of routine ends with having one egg for breakfast. Beyond that, everything is up for grabs. The one thing that tops the comfort of normative routine is the routine of the unexpected. Every day I get to shoot the rapids and ride in the draft of a supersonic transport. I’ve learned to anticipate the unexpected and therein to shape my own sense (delusion) of routine. Just, please, don’t make plans and change them at the last minute.

Cleveland, Tennessee
August 25, 2010

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