Some Thoughts on Rhythm and Life

by on June 13, 2016

Do you have any rituals? My roommate gets up most every morning at around the same time, goes for a run, makes a French press of coffee and sits out our kitchen table and reads his giant red-leather Study Bible and journals for a long time after. I love that. It’s weird whenever I come downstairs and he’s had to go to work early or something and isn’t doing it.

 

Me? A couple of days ago, I actually got to bed sort of early (for me) at around11:15pm. I set my alarm for 7am, knowing I had to walk out the door by 8am. I figured I could take a shower and have some time to just relax and maybe pray or read my own Bible in the morning (for the first time in God knows how long).

Instead, my body gloriously wakes up on its own at 6:30am. So naturally, I roll over and go back to sleep, pressing snooze until 7:18am. I wake up and then (for some very weird reason) think I got my days confused and that I actually have to be out the door by 7:30am. I say a bunch of curse words, roll out of bed, throw some clothes in the dryer (to unwrinkle them like any bachelor would) and take a seven-ish minute shower. I get out, get dressed, and walk out the door and into my car by 7:38am.

 

About 5 minutes into my ride, I realize I was half an hour early for my shift.

 

Regardless, the damage had already been done. My day had begun in a flurry of “busyness” and my heart felt the restlessness this causes; the restlessness I want to fight against; the restlessness I feel keeps me from resting in my Father and knowing him deeply.

 

Can anyone else relate? This definitely marks more of my days than not.

 

This is one of the reasons I am most appreciative of being in a distance seminary program now. I still work a full-time 9-to-5 job, but it’s a regular schedule. When I was in residence at seminary, my daily schedule fluctuated so dramatically. I never got to my 8am classes on time, and often slept right through them entirely.

 

Remember there was a classmate of mine who would pray the hours (an ancient way of dividing the day into three hour chunks and praying on specific hours). At 9am he would read an Old Testament passage, at noon a Psalm, at3pm a Gospel, and at 6pm a New Testament reading. Every day. And he’d do it in the same places. The same bench or the same table or the same study room. He really marked out his time and space in a way that helped him flourish in seminary and internalize a lot of it.

 

And oddly, it actually helped him stay centered and un-distracted enough that he both engaged with God and studied way more than me. I’ve got to think this rhythm in his life helped.

 

I want that sort of rhythm in my life. I’m good at “melody” and “harmony” in a sense (If I can push the metaphor that far), but suck at rhythm. Rhythm is still movement and action, but it’s a consistency that creates the foundation for freedom in the melody. I don’t want to get rid of my “improvisational” style of living, I just want to do it in the rhythm of things.

 

What about all of you? Any rhythm? Any ritual? Any consistencies or not? How do you relate seminary to the basic rhythm of your life with God? Any tips on how to cultivate rhythm into one’s life?

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About

Frequenting the coffee shops of Philadelphia while employed in social work and finishing up a Masters of Divinity from the Newbigin House of Studies at Western Theological Seminary. He serves Liberti Church as a deacon and seminary intern. Paul blogs at the long way home and tweets as @PaulBurkhart_.

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