ROUTINES, RITUALS, AND HOLY DAYS


At home or away, sick or well, troubled or at peace, routines give comfort. On holy days like Thanksgiving and Christmas, alternate routines are dusted off and elevated to the status of rituals.

I am afraid of darkness outside my window where something I can’t see might be watching. I close my curtains every night  and open them when the sun peeks through. That is how I start and end my daily routine.

A sane routine creates space in time and place for delight in the joyful unexpected and for coping with its dreaded counterpart. Breaking with routine on occasion is comforting in its own way: a holiday, a vacation, a spontaneous moment of presence:  watching a cat chase a butterfly or listening to a toddler learn language to bring order to the chaos of overwhelming new sensations.

On holy days like Thanksgiving and Christmas, alternate routines are dusted off and elevated to the status of rituals. For a few hours these rituals replace our mundane habits. There are people who are not around every day. There is magic in children’s wide-eyed belief and in the stories we tell about other days and other people. There is food that is not part of the daily fare. We give thanks to whatever we believe in for sunlight and darkness and curtains to let the light in and close out the darkness, for health and the sickness that makes health a blessing, for peace and joy and the trouble and sadness that make them real, for daily routines and holiday rituals, for food and coffee, cats and dogs, butterflies, toddlers, and words.

…the wonder of life is often most easily recognizable through habits and routines.

Anne Lamott
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Published by

Mary Ann Lesh

Teacher, university administrator, and translator/interpreter in Texas, Massachusetts, and Mexico, I am the mother of three and grandmother of seven. I am from Wichita Falls, Texas, and now live in Cancún, México, where I moved in 2017 after six years in Torreón. Between Wichita Falls and Cancún, I lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, for twenty years, with shorter stints in these Texas towns and cities: College Station, Angleton, Lamesa, Lubbock, and Sherman, and a nine-year residence in Brookline, Massachusetts. I have traveled in Central and South America, Europe, and Asia, as well the United States and Mexico.

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