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“Well,” said my niece; “it is September.” I had observed to her that I was in a new town, and hardly getting myself established here, and I was surprised at how my days were somehow getting very full.

Yep. And after years of living alone and being accountable for the most part to myself and for myself, I’ve found myself living in a household with teen and pre-teen children, and having to fit into a household schedule that includes not just what I need/want to do, but what they need/want to do – think, music lessons, sports, and school itself! – and what their working parents need/want to do (that means, leaving by seven AM for work – which is not just a need, but a want because they both like their jobs!). Suddenly the routines are important, and the ability to mesh routines in equitable, deliberate, intentional way is more important, for all of us.

That means, I guess, carefully and intentionally, thinking through priorities. And for me, that has meant, when and how am I going to pray? I like to get up early in the day, preferably before the sun, so that I can pray as the sun rises: and, while I know that the sun’s routine is established by the creator of the universe, in my own smug way I can at least pretend that my prayer has a role to play in the sun’s rising!

But lest I get too smug, I have to remember that it is not the sun that depends on my prayer: it is my prayer that depends on the regularity of the sun’s rising and its setting. It’s not we who keep our various disciplines: it is setting the priority of a regular discipline that is important because it is not we who keep our disciplines; it is our disciplines – our routines – which keep us.

The Rev. Allen Heggen


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