I like the thought that Dorothy Bass introduces in her book Receiving the Day in which she states that, for Christian women and men, part of the rhythm of stepping well in life’s dance is learning to set established times aside each day for attention to God. Doing this, day after day, she maintains, not only helps us to see life more clearly but also to discover that we ourselves are being seen. “The idea of doing something with regularity arises from the concept of the regula, or rule,” she writes. “A monastery is governed by an official written rule that serves as the basis for the covenant among community members, making possible a certain way of life and expressing the convictions implicit in that way of life. Rules do their work amid the humblest details of daily life: they direct what time to get up, how to eat, what to do when a stranger comes to the door, and more.”
Since I have been concentrated in this blog on examining the sacred rhythms in my own life, I decided to count up some of the regular practices that have become rhythms in my day. I discovered these below:
- Putting a going-to-bed pattern into place so that I don’t just flop exhausted onto the mattress, but instead, close the day in God’s presence.
- Meeting with my husband David on the mornings he is home to read the Divine Office and also trying to observe this at noontime and late afternoon.
- Memorizing Scripture and repeating it to myself when I in the middle of the night.
- Attending better to the moments in the world that remind me of God’s creative genius—although I am still jerking myself to awareness. I’m trying to rush less and enjoy more!
- Attending Sunday worship service with regula—sometimes we minister during the week in meetings where worship is a central focus. Once, we counted that we had been in 8 worship services! It is easy not to go to church on Sundays when your week has not been at all like the average churchgoers.
- Working to re-establish a good Sabbath practice. I’m trying to end Saturday and begin Sabbath/Sunday by attending a Vespers service a nearby church holds at sundown on Saturday. To bed early, rest well, church on Sunday. My question to myself is: How can I make Sunday the best day of the week? My intent is to gather good worship music. We’ve built the classical-music library, but I need to find that church music that stirs the soul for background to the Sabbath experience.
- For 38 years I have kept a prayer journal; this is a rhythm that is so familiar, it is easy to overlook it.
I think you get the idea: Intentionally looking at the rhythms in our lives helps us to see where we are “in step” and where we are “out of step.” What are the regular rhythms you have in place or need to put in place so that you can pay attention to God? It is an amazing thing to not only see Him with the eyes of the soul, but to discover that you are, indeed, being seen by Him.
Other projects involving Karen Mains right now:
Karen Mains is currently involved in a mentor writing project involving teleconferencing. She has just finished a cycle with six “wannabe writers” and is brainstorming the effectiveness of her “Personal Memoir Writing” curriculum with that group. She and her husband, David, are hoping to lead a Christian trip to Kenya, Africa next March for the purpose of developing micro-enterprise projects.