You guys, I’m struggling this week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about having had a long weekend, but it really throws me off. I don’t know what day it is, I’m all behind on work, and somehow I’m more tired now than I am after a regular weekend (Why?!).
I think there’s something about this time of year that makes me feel extra scattered. Even though no one in my little family is operating on a school year calendar, I can feel all of the transition happening around me. Kids are beginning their summer break and schedules everywhere are adjusting to a new norm. There are graduation parties for high school and college seniors and, with each celebration, the ambivalence of their “what’s next.” Warmer weather, summer travels, and longer days (oh my!) make it nearly impossible to remain unaware of the prevalence of transition and change all around.
I love routines and rhythms. I like planning out each day and sticking to a schedule. It’s the Type A in me.
In weeks and/or seasons like this one, when I don’t know which day it is and so many people around me are experiencing significant shifts in their schedules, I feel a little out of control. It might be the Type A in me that hates that feeling. (Or maybe it’s just the Mallory.)
As I sat down at my computer to write today, I kept veering from my original topic to this: The Bells Still Chime. This is a piece I wrote a few years ago for The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology―my alma mater. It seems untimely to return to it now, since it was originally written for the Easter holiday, but there is something about those bells that I needed to remember this week.
The Seattle School has bells that chime three times over a loudspeaker at 9:00, 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and onward, AM and PM. They are meant as a reminder―a holy interruption, if you will―that God is present with us in all that we do, whether during a difficult class or a sweet conversation in the halls of the school.
During these days of transition and disorientation, I could use an extra dose of those bells. Because regardless of whether or not I feel in control, the truth is that I’m not in control. Sometimes I may try to fight that truth, but that doesn’t change its validity. When my days feel out of sorts is when I really need the bells to bring me pause and remind me that God is here, with me, in the midst of my crazy morning or frustrating afternoon. Even if my normal schedule is thrown out the window, the bells are still chiming every 3 hours. The steadiness of God’s presence does not shift with graduation or the changing seasons. God doesn’t go on summer break.
Maybe I need to set my phone’s alarm for every 3 hours, in an effort to create my own chimes. When my regular schedule is changed, I need to ground myself in that which does not change. The rhythms of the bells are as dependable and orienting as it gets―ever-so-faithful reminders of God’s presence.
Wherever you are in this week―be it [still] in the silence of Saturday or in the deafening chaos of shifting schedules, summer break, and big transitions―remember that there are a set of bells still chiming every three hours, without fail, in a little brick building on the corner of Seattle’s Elliott and Wall Street. They ring, night and day, because God remains, night and day. My God, may I have the ears to hear and eyes to see holy interruptions that invite peace and remind me of His presence during these wild days.
Let’s listen for those grounding melodies. “See” you in June, good people!