September is upon us with its seeming return to ordinariness, and its call back to routine and the “normal” rhythm of daily life. All around us students and teachers are returning to school, vacations are ending, and back-to-school sales seem to be everywhere. Maybe we are looking back wistfully at summer wishing there were just a few more days of vacation before returning to work or school routines. For many of us, these waning days of summer, marked by Labor Day, signal the beginning of busier days ahead at work and school.
The familiar rhythm of our normal routine can give us security, but it can also block us from seeing the fresh, sacred wonders of ordinary life. What if we were more open—even anticipated—the new, unexpected surprises that God has for us as we move through the seemingly ordinary routines of daily life? What if we danced to the sacred rhythm of daily life?
Late August often makes me reflect on my teaching days. I remember my students’ sense of wonder, amazement and awe, and it challenges me. Young children live with a wide-eyed sense of the great mystery of God at work in the world and in their own lives. Everything seems new and exciting to them, and they look to the future with joyful anticipation. As people of faith we need more of that awe and wonder that children embody so well! Perhaps this time of year is an invitation to see with new eyes and to marvel at the mystery of God at work in our lives!
What if we looked with awe at how God has been and is at work in our lives, not only in moments of prayer, but also in ordinary day-to-day living? Recognizing and encountering God, the Holy Mystery, in our daily life, can be a life-transforming experience! Living intense intimacy with God is neither a distinct part of one’s life separate from day-to-day life, nor is it reserved for a few contemplative monks tucked away in the cloister; rather, it is accessible to everyone. Experiences of family life and friendship, the warmth of sunshine, going about daily work and duties, accepting disappointments, listening attentively to another, forgiving someone who has wronged us, experiencing joy and accepting what ought not to be are some of what forms the sacred rhythm of God’s presence in everyday life. It can also mean that we reread our past with wonder and new eyes—not regret—and see how God has been there in even the difficult moments. Reframing our past in this way opens us to the future and to the certainly that God has been and will always be at work in our lives. Even the most difficult of situations, the most humble of tasks, and the most ordinary of days are the places of grace where God communicates to us in the deepest center of our being, even if in a silent, hidden way. As we move into September, let us open our eyes and hearts to see the sacred surprises in the “everyday” and with awe, wonder and anticipation dance to the sacred rhythm of our daily life.