BE A REGULAR
The Daily Practice:
BE A REGULAR SOMEWHERE
We are creatures of habit, place and desire. Our lives are patterned and place-formed, and yet we are often oblivious to this reality and its effects. Bent on achieving our daily tasks and heart’s desires, we rarely give careful consideration to the way routines and habits bind us and blind us.
Now, habits are good and purposeful! Our patterns in places provide our lives with an ordered rhythm while binding our freedom within proper limits. But they do limit our perspective. Our habits can naturally become ruts we fall into and blind us to patterns and places of others. Just as we are at times blind to our own habits, we are always blind to places we never peer into. Where we live, work, play or eat profoundly shapes our imaginations. Thus, entering into and reconciling with the patterns and places of another can be difficult - dangerous even.
Our deepest desires manifest themselves in mundane places and ways, like how we commute to work or where we get a cup of coffee. What good can a regular cup of coffee do to invite reconciliation? It may seem like not a whole lot. But faithfulness often resides in small seeds, or beans in this case. An intentional cup of coffee can be a meaningful act of trust building in the what Dr. King called the “inescapable network of mutuality.”
Most of us are Regulars somewhere already. But we are often bound to habits that keep us in the same kinds routines and bound to the same kinds of people. We are regularly with a certain demographic. Or regularly isolated. Regularly on this or that side of town.
Activist and author Bryan Stevenson argues that we must become proximate to the vulnerable in order to understand the suffering that we are otherwise blind to. Sometimes our routines keep us shielded from the pain we would rather not see. But being a regular somewhere you do not regularly go can be a powerful way to wake your mind up to new neighbors and new ways to love them.
This Advent, consider embracing a new regular routine. Go get coffee in a neighborhood you don't usually go. Take the drive home that cuts through the "bad" part of town. Eat lunch a place everyday where people speak a different language. Try to learn someone’s name, and say hi to them every time. It’s difficult to love the neighbor we do not know. Be mindful of your regular patterns and intentionally chose to explore another’s patterned-formed place.
Being a regular somewhere new this season may not change the world, but it is one little habit, in one little neighborhood, in one little shop, where love can awaken new eyes to see and where the seeds of reconciliation might be planted.
- This habit was written and curated by my friend Drew Cleveland.