Are we defined by our routines or by our relationships?
Seven years ago I wrote an article that started out by listing some of the things that I’d done that week –
- hobbled around cussing at the gout in my right foot. … [The doctor and I] agreed that such things, while annoying, are certainly better than some of the alternatives.
- participated in … meetings to improve the work environment at the company where I was a manager
- discussed the best way to remove my old shed with my neighbor
- became a grandfather for the first time
Time has passed.
I’ve never had another episode of gout. But some of the “alternatives” have reared their head – cancer, myasthenia gravis, pancreatitis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, arthritis.
The company I worked for no longer exists but where I am now is equally committed to a good workplace.
It was left to the new owner of my house to remove that shed. But I still remember that conversation with my neighbor.
And I now have four grandchildren. Each one is special in their own way. Each one makes grampa proud.
Other than becoming a grandparent, which is a unique and special occasion every time, none of the things I listed was anything other than routine. Just the normal stuff that we all do on a regular basis day in and day out.
In many ways, our lives are defined by our daily routines. We organize ourselves by what we need to accomplish. A shower. Breakfast. Drop the kids at the sitter’s, or make sure they have lunches for school. Off to work and myriad tasks that start the minute you walk in the door and don’t end until the minute you walk out … which is just in time to get to the grocery store, then rush home to make supper. Afterward, take the kids to lessons or the game, organize a club meeting, or mow the lawn, or run an errand.
Jesus, as the Gospel writers portray him, was a busy fellow too. And a great deal has been made of the idea that hard work is a Christian virtue.
But Jesus is defined by the relationships he had with those around him. And we should be too.
When we get up in the morning, think about what those loved ones we’re sharing breakfast with mean to us.
Remember that the babysitter isn’t a place, but a person; our workday isn’t defined by the tasks we accomplish, but by the interactions we have with the people we work with.
Then there’s the cashier at the grocery store, the parents at the game, the people at the club, and the neighbour across the lawn.
Our relationships with these people and so many more define and demonstrate how we live our faith in the world each day.
Sometimes, making the world a better place isn’t a matter of making huge changes.
Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of recognizing what we’re already doing, and being a little more deliberate about it.
This week, as very week,
may you see the face of Jesus in everyone you meet.
And may everyone you meet see the face of Jesus in you.