Taking a Break from the Relentless
Taking a Break from the Relentless
Sunday’s Chicago Tribune published a column by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary Schmich, entitled Where do we find relief in a relentlessly jangling world? It resonated with me. Clearly, she and I live in the same news-soaked environment. My guess is that you do too.
It’s relentless, isn’t it?
When you read the sentence above, what popped to mind? What is the “it” that just won’t stop, that won’t give you a break, that makes it hard to breathe and think?
Part of “it,” she thinks, might be the current spate of fear-inducing news topics – to which each of us can add our own deadlines and anxieties. “Fear,” she writes, “makes everything seem more relentless.” Then she adds that our incessant connectedness likely contributes to a sense of being trapped by it all.
On her way to a suggested coping mechanism, Schmich remembers reading an article that cited the psychological benefits of partitions on airplanes, those drapes that separate first class from economy. Allegedly, they give us folks in coach the illusion of space, the impression that we’re not trapped, the possibility of having someplace to go that isn’t Seat 32E.
Schmich thinks we need to figure out how to provide our own partitions in order to occasionally screen out the relentlessness of life. I can’t agree more.
Among the many benefits of my work here at Valpo is the break that I am obliged to take every weekday morning at 10 a.m. Granted, Morning Prayer is not required, but let’s face it, I’m a pastor on this campus. Prayer and worship are supposed to be my thing. How weird would it be if I sat in my office answering email while the people gathered right next door?
So, even though I, like most people on campus, don’t have any direct responsibilities to make Morning Prayer happen (I have dedicated and talented colleagues that serve in that way), I feel obligated to leave my desk in the Helge Center at 9:55 every day that I’m on campus and head over to the Chapel.
It’s such a blessing.
I know that some on campus are constrained by their responsibilities from taking this break with me. I get that. But for those who are not, allow me to suggest that if you’re feeling “jangled” as Mary Schmich describes it, 20 minutes daily might be part of the solution.
It’s easy. We walk over, we sit down and the praying and singing start happening around us. For a few minutes in the middle of the morning, there’s nothing else going on.
I’ve even taken to going without my phone. It’s weird, but it’s good.
Feb. 5, 2020
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- To be known
- We had hoped
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future