The routine parts of life, the dull parts of the day are the gifts of space. They're when thoughts of God take hold within us.
The desert monastics wove baskets every day of their lives to earn alms for the poor-and, when the baskets went unsold, unbraided them and began again. The purpose was to occupy the body and free the mind. Mindless work is not a burden when the mind is full and the heart like a laser beam finds its way to God.
We want life to be exciting, when as a matter of fact, life is only life. We want the spiritual to be mystical rather than real.
Annie Dillard wrote, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." The tragedy is that we ignore so much of it in the interest of getting to the real stuff. Never confuse the ordinary with the simple, the static, or the boring. Living an ordinary life well can be a very complicated thing to do. It takes great talent to make a great life out of a routine one.
"A cow must graze where it is tied," the Africans say. The little circumstances in which we find ourselves are the food of the soul. When I solve hunger problems in my hometown, I am healing a starving globe.
Repetition is of the essence of monasticism. We repeat our daily schedule. In the first place, it frees the mind for greater thoughts. In the second place, it sensitizes the soul to the sacred poetry of the present moment. When the day is really routine we get to think awhile about what we're doing and why we're doing it and how we're doing it. It is the well from which we draw our reasons to go on.
The routine parts of life, the dull parts of the day are the gifts of space. Then, while the world goes on around us, the thoughts of God take hold within us.
If I cook dinner, that's ordinary. If I put a flower on the table when I serve it, that's divine.
The function of routine is to give us time to recoup our energies for the next unpredictable challenge. Enjoy every minute of normal time you have. Store it in your heart as energy and endurance. You will someday need the peace and calm and certainty you have garnered there.