When I was a kid thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up, one of my greatest concerns was finding a profession that would provide enough variety so that I would not get bored. I worried that any sort of routine would mean stagnation and inevitable tedium.
As I enter my second year here at UU Montclair (and the 46th year of my life), I look at things from a somewhat different perspective. I have come to realize that doing something similar to what we have done before opens up all kinds of possibilities that were not available the first time around. Obviously, there is the chance to avoid the mistakes made in the past (assuming that we have learned from them). In addition, though, repetition gives us opportunities for deepening that come only with going around the cycle again, and again.
This evolution does not happen automatically. It requires that we are mindful, even – and especially – in situations that we think we know. If we don’t pay attention, then the routines do become stale, and life does get dull. Rituals are only meaningful if we exercise them consciously.
Let’s look at each other’s faces with open eyes and listen to one another with fresh ears. If we can find the surprising in the well-known, then we don’t ever need to be bored with old tasks – or afraid of new challenges.