My life does not sound like a piece of music. Well, maybe something by AC/DC, but certainly not something sweet and calming like Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring or even Norah Jones‘ Come Away With Me. This week I have had something to do or somewhere to go every single day after work. Doctors appointments, errands, softball practices, birthday parties – these things have taken over our afternoons and evenings. I have not cooked a hot meal for my family since Sunday. My husband teaches all day, then coaches baseball in the afternoons, and on nights he has games, you never know when he’ll get home. Dishes are undone, trash cans overflow, prayers are neglected, Lent is almost forgotten. My life is a rush of chronos moments and a void of kairos ones.
What I lack is rhythm – the quiet, repeating rhythms that center me. Yes, I am still getting up every day, packing lunches, and going to work. I am still helping kids brush teeth and reading to them at night. But I feel like I am dancing around like a bunch of loud staccato notes when I need the slow, quiet beauty of a rich whole note. I need the consistency of daily rituals to keep my spirit healthy and hungry for life. I want to get those rituals, that personal liturgy, back up and running again. I want to cook each night, write each day, pray in the mornings, exercise after work. While I know I’ll never manage everything I want to do, this day-to-day chaos is turning me into an unkind, irate, unhealthy person. It is time to slow down, to say no to some things, and to rebuild the life rhythms that nurture my whole self.
By W. S. Merwin
The night the world was going to end
when we heard those explosions not far away
and the loudspeakers telling us
about the vast fires on the backwater
consuming undisclosed remnants
and warning us over and over
to stay indoors and make no signals
you stood at the open window
the light of one candle back in the room
we put on high boots to be ready
for wherever we might have to go
and we got out the oysters and sat
at the small table feeding them
to each other first with the fork
then from our mouths to each other
until there were none and we stood up
and started to dance without music
slowly we danced around and around
in circles and after a while we hummed
when the world was about to end
all those years all those nights ago.