by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                          Ireland                      12.01.2024

Each morning I get up early and usually follow the same routine – get dressed, have breakfast, pray in the chapel, and then go for a walk. Isn’t it funny how we love to fall into the same routines each day. Yes, we can take interruptions, but when things settle, there we are, back at the same old routine!

Today I was thinking about my routines and why I am so attached to them. I feel they give me a solid grounding for the day. As I set myself “on automatic pilot” I have time to think, to plan and to savour the moment. Each day is different, depending on the weather. When I step outside, will I be met with a gentle breeze or the breath-taking freeze of a frosty morning? And yet, I trudge along the same familiar path each day and discover something new. One morning there will be slightly more traffic as I set out slightly later, but I still see the workers arriving for their morning shifts in the hospital and greet the same people at the bus stop! As the seasons change, I watch the leaves fall or the new shoots spring forth in the earth.

I was remembering my mother standing at the sink doing the washing up. So much of life is made up of these small routines. My sister-in-law tidies her linen cupboard and has all the towels and sheets folded to perfection! I think of routines as “breathing spaces” in the day. When things are done “automatically” it leaves our spirit free to wander and to dream.

I wonder what routines Jesus had built into his life. We hear of the parables, the teachings, but not too much about the humdrum, and there must have been a lot of that. As an itinerant preacher the must often have been walking along the road. I bet he was doing just what I do, watch the changing seasons, look out for rain, greet people along the way. It would have been a time for him to think about his mission, to choose his apostles, to ask his Father for guidance.

I love routines, they keep me sane, but I just ask for enough disruption in my days that routines don’t become ruts!