We are well into the season officially called Ordinary time, which referrers to the fact that the rest of our weeks are numbered… ordinal- ordinary. Numbering something instead of naming it implies that it goes on and on. My high school government teacher often joked that the last of her 9, nine! children were numbered instead of named.

When I was a kid I was banned from the house most of the summer, those summer days did seem very ordinary. They stretched on and on before me. Ordinary time possessed the blessing/curse of boredom. During those days my brother and I had some of our most creative feats, like club houses and rocket launchers.  We of course had the opportunity for learning as well like don’t shoot your sister with a bee bee gun, and don’t tie you brother to a skate board while toeing him on a bicycle.

Ordinary time carries with it the sense of blessed monotony, of sameness, of doing something over and over again.

That is how we learn things, by doing them over and over again.

We’ve got a little patch of land in Colorado. We call it the Muddydrumstick, because three of our seasons are caked with red clay mud. That mud is a real problem in the driveway. The daily in and out on the driveway has created ruts. Those ruts are deep and hard as rock.

In ruts there is only one way to go. The rut steers the car, not the other way around.

The human person is similar. Pathways are created in the mind and body, for good or ill, by repetition.

Ordinary time can be the open space for rut removal. There are enough monotonous days to lay new paths and get rid of the old destructive ones. I’ve got two children who are banned from the house all summer long. Currently they are working on the rut of criticism, replacing it with the rut of kindness. Me, I’m working creating the rut of loving others as Jesus loves them, always wanting and pursing their “very best good.”[1]

Practically this means the daughters stopping to ask each other throughout the day, “How I can pray for you?” and praying for each other. (It’s hard to criticize someone when you know their struggles.)

Practically, for me, it means three things. First, I am fully present with the people I’m with. It means not letting my mind wander to past hurts, or to the future ways I can manipulate them to my will. Second, it means constantly praying with attention and intention while listening. “Holy Spirit, show me how to love this person.” Lastly it means, following through on the instructions of the Holy Spirit.

Whatcha doing with your ruts this summer?

[1] This is a phrase Dallas Willard used this phrase frequently to define how we love our neighbor. To love is will the very best good of another. Not my very best good, but their very best good.

Starting Soon: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? Choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

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