Daily rituals

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When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our own ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment? (Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

Travis and I are currently in the middle of making a life for ourselves. It is exciting to be in a new city with things to do and time of our own. We can spend our evenings somewhere different each day, and we can craft our life to look however we might choose. I am learning to see this freedom as a responsibility, and it is ultimately a responsibility to establish rituals that will last in the coming years and that will provide the foundation for our little family.

When we were dating, Travis told me that he thinks humans learn to rely on their habits. As an example, if we make prayer a habit before we go to bed, hopefully we will come to need that ritual simply by the fact that it is what we have always done. I think of that often, and am learning to consider what habits to build in our new home so that in ten years, we will still be holding onto them dearly.

Daily rituals are those that we do over and over again, but that provide us with a new glimpse into the world and the lives around us. The morning coffee ritual holds great beauty, and it is beauty that we can see and experience over and over again. The beauty of the Grand Canyon can be remembered, but the acts of the everyday are gifts of beauty that can be practiced daily. We want to make a habit of these small rituals. We want to need that cup of coffee together in the morning, and the prayer of two poor sinners in the evening.

These can all be a collection of pretty thoughts, but they are meaningless without one other word: Emmanuel. God with us. The incarnation infuses grace and beauty into our every moment, and we want to see it and remember it and share this beauty with others. That is why our rituals can possess a transcendent meaning, and bring us refreshing grace. God Himself, through the person and work of Jesus Christ, makes himself known in our little apartment, and we want to see Him and know Him and love Him more fully as the days and their rituals come and go.

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