I'll be honest -- I often have wondered if I didn't work for a church, would I go to church regularly? I'd like to think I would, but I can't really be certain. It doesn't mean I have doubts about my beliefs, rather, I'm just not sure how active I'd be on Sunday mornings.

One of the strange things about this sabbatical is that I started without any expectations for what my weekly routine would be. Normally, I have meetings on certain days, rehearsals and services scheduled far in advance, and nothing too unpredictable ever really arises. But after only a couple of weeks away from work, I found myself bored. Really bored. And I discovered it was because my life lacked any type of rhythm to it. I long have thought that the lives of monks and nuns must be incredibly boring, but now I see that their lives are completely based on a regular routine. They attend several services each day, have devoted times to prayer, corporate meals, and even a little free time.

So I set about to create my own weekly routine to help get me out of bed and not watching endless reruns of Family Feud (RIP Richard Dawson) and Judge Judy. The first thing I decided to do was to begin practicing each day. Done. I forgot how therapeutic it can be to just focus intensely on learning new music.

Secondly, I make sure to attend weekly Evensongs on Wednesday. This has given me the chance to hear some great music, as well as the time to pause and pray. Similarly, Tuesday Eucharists at the monastery offer an inspired worship setting, and I have met some really interesting and remarkable people at these services. I have been intentional in attending at least one organ recital each week and have heard some fantastic playing.

Then there are Sundays. I have been deliberate in planning where I want to worship each Sunday. In an effort to experience different styles and places, I try not to let the music be the determining factor. I've found some places to be more inviting to return to than others, but they've all offered at least a little idea for me to bring back to Christ Church. Even if that idea is "we must make sure and NEVER do that!"

So, I've got a bit of a routine. Still lots of free time, which is nice and appreciated. The Church understands these routines. We have the liturgical calendar, as well as the program year that wisely takes a slight breather during the summer. I have a deeper appreciation for these now. My goal will be to incorporate some of my new routine in with my old routine when life gets going in full swing again in the fall. And yet, I’m more than open to discovering new routines to add as well.