The Blessing of Routine
Some time ago I received an e-mail asking me to describe myself by answering a series of questions. Then I was to send it to all my friends so they could learn something new about me. Hmmm. You think they really want to know my favorite color? Favorite movie? Favorite song or what I do when I get bored?
Strangely enough someone did. I got a quick return e-mail concerning my answer on boredom to which I had stated: “I am never bored!” My friend wanted to know if that was really true. Well, yes! I am never bored because I have found there are blessings in routine and beauty in the ordinary.
Though my life has had a major interruption with the death of my husband, it still has a fairly predictable pattern since my adult son with Down syndrome lives at home. Because of his heart disease and compromised immune system, Jay is unable to work in the community or any type of workplace. He is home all day, everyday, with Mom. (Now that might be boring.) He fills his day with things that interest him—perusing the morning newspaper, watching special TV programs or sorting through his 200 plus collection of neckties. He may also listen to music or play a board game with me.
While Jay is busy with his interests, I write stories and do all the mundane things that everyone else does like laundry, cleaning and cooking. And yes, I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to have the freedom to hop on a plane and spend a week or a month in Italy, Spain or even Corpus Christi, Texas, but then I remember the times Jay was extremely ill and in the hospital and all I could think of was how great it would be to hear him singing in the next room or to take our daily trip to Sonic.
I longed for the routine of the day. Just the thought of loading the dishwasher after an uneventful meal seemed like heaven compared to sitting in that hospital room where Jay was hooked up to IVs and oxygen.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, yeah, but those are exceptions, not the norm.” Unfortunately, for some it is the norm. But even if it isn’t, those frightening interruptions in life—illness, accident, divorce, death, depression and disability—all serve to remind us that there is joy in the ordinary. There are blessings in the routine of our days whether they are spent at home, the office, traveling, caring for a loved one or writing a story.
If I receive an unexpected card or letter in the mail, I count it as a blessing. When my oldest son calls to tell me how his day is going, it’s a blessing. When Jay says or does something so funny that we both get a belly laugh, it’s a blessing. When I sit at my window and watch the squirrels play and the birds nibble on the morsels of bread I put out for them, that too is a blessing.
Learning to find joy in the everyday, run-of-the-mill stuff is a gift you give yourself. It is healing to the heart and soul. I’m reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says, “Give thanks in all things.” Not always an easy thing to do, but what a wonderful way to start the New Year.
Giving thanks will help us find blessings in our daily routine as well as beauty in the ordinary. Try it!