Remember how I said I loved creating routine and structure? Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Ha! I do. I love routine and structure. For a while.
And then, once that while of weeks/months/years has passed, I’m done. And instead of routine and structure being the trellis on which I grow, it puts limits on my thinking, it stifles my creativity and it frustrates my decision making. I love routine and structure, until I’m over it.
And Friends, Beloved Reader, I AM OVER IT.
The Great Big Future is unknown but my day-to-day is the exact same thing. Every. Single. Day. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again.
The Calendar of Good Things is mostly pizza, Gogglebox and Sewing Bee these days. Although, I've somehow become a 1940s housewife because we got a new hoover this week and its all I can talk about. I now spend half the day wandering around the house admiring how beautiful the carpets look.
My life is routine. Resistance to wonder has been activated. But ultimate LOLZ because my word for this year is ADVENTURE. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?! (Like rain-e-ain on your wedding day)
I crawled over the start line of 2020 an exhausted mess. Having pushed the limits of my capacity through the Summer of Celebration and then on into Autumn and Christmas. Most Sundays I crawled into church wondering how on earth I’d get through the week ahead and begging God to revive me. God is faithful - I was given grace enough to make it through each day.
I realised focusing on adventure, in a year when I had none planned, would force me to slow down and approach life differently. No uprooting myself from my much loved Croydon people, no starting a new job, no big trips abroad, no living solely in the limits of my capacity. As the great Tsh Oxenrieder puts it:
Wanderlust and my longing for home are birthed from the same place: a desire to find the ultimate spot this side of heaven. When I stir soup at my stove I drift to a distant island. When I'm on the road with my backpack, my heart wanders back to my couch and my favourite cup of coffee.
My equal pull between both are fuelled by my hardwired desire for heaven on earth. And I know I'll never find it. "Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees it takes off his shoes, the rest just sit around and pluck blackberries" unless the flickering bushes compel me to remove my shoes, traveling the world will never satisfy. Neither will the liturgy of normal life back home." From At Home in the World.
Its much easier for me to find God when I’ve chosen to test my limits in a wild adventure. My real challenge is in a comfortable and (mostly) predictable life where I don’t even notice I’m happily picking blackberries and ignoring God in the bushes on fire in front of me.
I knew I needed to find the adventure in the everyday but I never imagined the everyday would be confined to the four walls of home, Tooting Common and the supermarket. How much adventure is to be found in Zoom? And no, backgrounds of the beach/mountains don’t count.
So, here we are. Day whatever, of week whatever of the absolute write-off that is 2020. Resistance to wonder has been activated but I am fighting back. Turns out, wonder is a gateway to adventure. Turns out, wonder can be a spiritual practice.
I do the same walk every lunchtime. I’ve learned to consider the grass and the Queen Anne’s Lace and the nettles and the bluebells coming and going (I’ve also learned to ignore the giant rats). My phone is full of photos of flowers and trees and blue sky. I’ve learned to pay attention to the shape of the petals and the grouping of the leaves and the texture of the bark on the conker trees. Are they not clothed in splendour? Are they not wonderfully made? (I've also decided which trees will be the most fun to climb)
Turns out, there’s no room for monotony when my eyes are wide with wonder.
Do I know how the dimensions of the earth were determined? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Have I ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have I ever visited the treasuries of snow? Does the rain have a father? Who is the mother of ice? Can I hold back the movement of the stars? Can I ensure the proper sequence of seasons or guide the constellations of the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
Questions from Job 38 (This is a poem. Do not come at me with your science and water cycles and laws of nature)
Forget the Enneagram, Myers-Brigg and any other personality testing, this notebook is the most accurate description of who I am:
Turns out, wonder is a part of life in all its fullness, learning to love the sky you're under and embracing the liturgy of the everyday.
May you come to see your ordinary-now as the great place God has you in, as the great moment God has given to you and as the great opportunity it is if only you’ll awake to its wonder." Strachan Coleman, Commoners Communion
Where are you finding adventure in lockdown?