Guest post Tuesday! I want you to meet Marcy, one of the people who helped me fine tune my writing, who believed in me the very first time I uttered, “I want to be a writer. Is it possible?” Although we’re not able to be in a writing group anymore, I’ll always hold and admire her influence in my life. Enjoy her words today.
When Cara Meredith asked me to consider a blog on rituals I hesitated because I didn’t think of myself as a ritual type. Then I wondered how to define a ritual ‘type’ and, if I could, then how might that attitude, or activity, differ from habits or traditions? Since I knew I had several months to ponder I said yes, and then immediately forgot all about it until the deadline loomed. Now that is a typical habit.
I consider myself a quiet introvert who loves structure and giant blocks of time to read and write and think. However, my actual life is chaotic, dramatic, always rushed, often loud, and no day is ever structured anymore.
Instead my days are in free-fall even when my calendar is clearly marked with assigned commitments. Some are of my own making such as forgotten lurking deadlines, some the general life trials we all struggle with like power outages, some totally random slivers of brokenness, and others the deep valued relationships with family and friends that trump any activity any time.
Lately transition seasons seem to interrupt with more frequency and add a sense of dislocation as well. The most recent one has lasted over a year and is still is process. I became overwhelmed and needed to find a way to cope. I tried to think back on what I’d let go of, or now did too seldom, to keep my heart above water. I know there is really nothing to do about the trials and circumstances that wash in like a flood, but I have been able to navigate with peace in the storms before. What had I let go of?
Surprisingly I realized nothing externally, but definitely internally. I had allowed the craziness of tick-tock clock time, filled with no margins, overcome my timeless rhythm. Instead of quiet devotion and prayer time to start my day, I raced through the reading as a checkmark on my to do list. And pushed prayers to mimic a quick shortened message like quick texts throughout the day. Nothing wrong, but nothing deep either. I no longer paused to take a breath even when I physically stopped moving. I missed inhaling nature except for the wind’s touch when I rolled down my windows driving.
So I guess I found I am a ritual type—at least for myself. I need to consciously choose to take pause breaks for scripture or devotional reading, to pray with concentration even if only a few minutes at a time, and to stop and look at the beauty God created.
Sometimes on my way home lately I stop near the ocean and set my alarm for fifteen minutes and do absolutely nothing but watch the waves. Or take a detour on my way home to drive along tree-lined streets instead of fast car choked cement roads.
I’ve been really intentional the past few weeks and guess what—the external chaos became an avalanche. But rushing and reacting are no longer my immediate internal heartbeats, even if outwardly I am actually, literally, running. A pause to calibrate changes everything.
To listen, to be aware, to participate by choice, to trust, changes my story from despair to hope—every day.
Blessings on your pauses,
Marcy lives in northern California. She is a Freelance Content Editor, Writing Coach, Workshop Instructor, and Author. Her fiction includes fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories, and in non-fiction she writes devotions, Bible studies, writer’s workshops, and poetry. She is the author of Lightbearer: The Lorica Prophecies, a YA novel; A Writer’s Spiritual Retreat, a reflective journal; and An Advent Journal, which releases this November. Connect with Marcy on her website, two different blogs (here and here), on Facebook and on Twitter.