My blender stopped working this morning. I think it got jealous of all the other items that have been leaving my house via the Minimalist Challenge and wanted to join them. It’s going to get its wish.
I filled the blender with all my healthy ingredients — almond milk, cashew butter, banana, etc. — then pressed the button that usually makes it whir and blend. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This happened once last week, but I walked away, came back a few minutes later, and it miraculously worked. That didn’t work today. I walked away with the rest of the parade of beverages, did my Bible study, then came back. Still nothing.
Since I moved to Ann Arbor, I have embraced routines. Ok, let me honest, for my whole life I have embraced routines. I like repetition. I like order. I like predictability. So, I usually go through the same motions each day. Sometimes they get a little out of order, but I usually find a way to get back to the routine as soon as practical.
My husband, a teacher turned therapist turned pastor turned dean of students, told me shortly after I moved here that ‘routines are one of the best ways to manage a transition’. I am in the middle of a pretty significant transition — moving from working full time to not working, moving from Missouri to Michigan, moving from city living to campus living — but all of us spend our lives in transition don’t we? We transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood to middle age to old age. We transition from single to married and perhaps back to single again. We transition from summer to fall to winter to spring. We are always in transition. Perhaps that is why we crave routine.
In the past week or so I have heard many people say, fresh from the holidays, “I am looking forward to getting back to my routine.” Our days have beginnings, middles, and ends that are largely very repetitive. We like that. So what happens when something happens to disrupt our routine?
We sleep through our alarm. The power goes out. The basement floods. We lose our job. We get sick. Someone dies. Our blender stops working.
It’s a disruption. We have to stop in the middle of that beloved routine of ours and regroup. We sleep through our alarm so we have to decide new priorities — shower or no shower? breakfast or no breakfast? notify the people who are waiting for us or break the speed limit to get there on time? We lose our job so we have to reevaluate life and make some choices — find a new job? move to a new town? go back to school?
Our blender stops working and we have to decide what in the world are we going to eat for breakfast.
This morning I didn’t want to stop in the middle of my routine. I was already a little tight on time. I didn’t have a backup plan for something healthy to eat. And, guys, all the stuff was already in the blender! So what did I do? I kept moving for a bit. Went to my office, drank the beverages — they were out of order!!! This ruffled me a little, but I pressed on. I got through my morning email-checking and devotion-reading and checked the clock. I had to leave soon if I was going to meet my friend for a Pilates class. Should I make a bowl of oatmeal? grab a Kind bar? I thought about it as I got dressed, washed my face, and put in my contacts. I walked back into the kitchen and pressed the button on the blender one more time. Nothing. Sigh. I couldn’t just leave all those precious ingredients sitting in the blender on the countertop. I poured them into a bowl, mashed the banana with a fork, stirred and swished as blender-like as I knew how, and ate that stuff with a spoon. Bam. Problem solved.
I wish all disruptions were this easy to manage, don’t you? My disruption didn’t shape the rest of my day or the rest of my life, but many disruptions do. Many split-second disruptions change our lives forever. And, I am sorry to say, that no amount of routine can prevent these disruptions. They happen.
But I’m gonna keep up my routine. It’s providing structure and helping me make sure that I hear from our Father every day. And He is one thing I can predict. He never changes.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
His mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23)