The Rhythms That Form Us
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. -Zechariah 8:16
“It is precisely this routine of holiness-as-usual that is the ultimate measure of the quality of a soul. It is what we do routinely, not what we do rarely, that delineates the character of a person. It is what we believe in the heart of us that determines what we do daily” (Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year, Thomas Nelson, 2010, 183).
I’ve been trying to pay attention to what we do daily as a family that is forming not only me, but also the precious little life I am entrusted to nurture. It’s the little things that make up the life we share together. There are routines each day that signal to Emma (my daughter) that she is home, with her family, in a safe and sacred place. The day starts with a diaper change, the hum of grinding coffee beans, letting the dog outside, and stepping into the cool morning air to say, “Good morning, world! Good morning, trees and squirrel!” After Emma goes to daycare, I am always faced with a choice-jump right into the work ahead of me or begin the day with prayer? I want to say I always choose prayer, but sometimes it feels as if there is too much pressing in. I can feel the difference in the quality of my presence throughout the day when I take even a few minutes to connect with the Source of my life.
Each day, the moments bring choices that reveal who I really am and what or whom I really love. What food will I eat? What thoughts will I let take priority? How much attention will I give to the tasks before me? How will I tend or dismiss relationships? What will I do with the fleeting time? How often will I remember that God is in whatever place I am? How will I respond to an argument with my husband or a tantrum from my daughter? Will I savor what is good and be grateful? Who will I be in the hard moments when I question my worth, potential, identity? Will I have the courage to act with integrity when injustice shows up? There are larger events and decisions that shape our lives to be sure, but we discover who we truly are in the moment-by-moment details of ordinary days.
Who are you in the daily tasks and invitations of your life? How are the rhythms you live forming you over time?
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).
In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.