At times during this pandemic, I feel like Bill Murray’s character, Phil, in the 1993 classic film, Groundhog Day.
I resonate with this character most often in the morning as I “make” the pot of coffee, empty the dishwasher, open the window blinds, and prepare my daughter’s first cup of milk.
Day after day, week after week, month after month- this is the start of my day.
I am not complaining as it comes with great blessings. I am fortunate to be healthy and alive, joined by two beautiful children and a wife who after four months of isolation, still is somewhat happy to see me walk down the stairs.
With that being said, I find myself today, preparing for another pandemic Monday, and not necessarily looking forward to the routine that awaits me.
I am already preparing myself for the familiar script of what each week brings: My wife and I will juggle responsibilities, piecing time together like a puzzle to meet our work demands, discuss grocery lists and diaper supplies, and manage to help our children grow, learn, and be loved. As many parents are realizing, this is precious yet exhausting times.
It is easy to fall into the perspective of the mundane, seeing these days as boring, tiresome, and familiar. The invitation; however, is to see them as ritual.
What if we saw each task as an act of love.
As a Catholic, when I first think of ritual, I recall the sacred liturgy. I know the sequence of events, prepared to respond on cue within the order of the Mass. I anticipate the next move without difficulty, yet I am still invited to find the holy- to experience God.
And this is the same for us within the secular context and the gift of the familiar. Instead of finding the routine boring or finding yourself saying “not again,” respond with gratitude and appreciation. Say “thank you” to our Creator for the opportunity to be alive, to achieve these simple tasks, and to be in service to others.
Find the holy in the ritual of your routines, your tasks, and your responsibilities. God meets us there if we are listening. Attach prayer to what you have to accomplish this day. Seek God in all these tasks.
At times, we are called to be like the sister Mary in Luke’s Gospel, resting before Jesus, to listen and to learn. At other times, we are called to be Martha- working in preparation of the task at hand (Luke 10:38-42).
Find time for both this week. Do not resent the familiar, approach it with anticipated ease as God awaits us there. Also, find time to simply be silent and to listen to God in our midst.
Finally, as we approach a new week, we pray: may God bless us, keep us safe, and inspire us to respond to the needs of our home and our world with justice, peace, and love. May each day bring a ritual of love that we might willingly participate in search of the divine.”