Letter from the editor: Joy and freedom in the routine 


If I asked you where you’d like to be right now, I doubt you would answer “in class,” “in the library studying” or even “on campus.” If you’re anything like me, especially after fall break, all you want is to be somewhere else, doing something besides school. You’ve tasted freedom from school and you want more. You want a break from routine.

The funny thing is, with language referring to freedom, it almost seems like we’re slaves here. Yet … we chose to be here. When you enrolled at Franciscan, you wanted it. At the beginning of the semester, you wanted it. And even now, you want it. If you truly didn’t, you probably would have left by now.

And yet we spend the majority of our time with friends here wishing we could be somewhere else, doing something different. We complain about homework, jobs, commitments, responsibilities. When was the last time you were actively grateful for the gift of being able to study at such an incredible place?

I think most of our cases of disappoint result from comparison. When we compare our lives to other people, particularly if those people are out of college and have a much more flexible schedule than those of us who are still in the routine of school, we find our own lives regulated and dull.

I would encourage all of us, myself included, to find joy in the routines while we have them. Routines, by teaching us self-discipline, can truly lead to holiness.

Don’t you hate Saturdays? You have the illusion of time to accomplish great things. Six hours later, the day is basically over and you’ve done practically nothing. Next weekend, you tell yourself, things will be better. Every time it’s the same. It’s because you don’t have the routine on weekends.

I know I, for one, have to establish a routine or schedule on weekends as well, because that schedule allows me to experience freedom by following it and then being on top of my work. It takes self-discipline, which can be very challenging on weekends, but it’s completely worth it.

Yet despite holding myself to a routine, I still find that I don’t appreciate things until I don’t have them anymore. This summer, I broke from my typical routine and found myself floundering with and misusing free time. I couldn’t wait for school start again so I could get my schedule back.

This boredom in routine is also why it’s key to have people around you to remind you of why you love what you do. Most likely, you have chosen every activity that you’re part of and every class you’re taking for a reason. Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of those reasons, and if we can’t find them, to talk with friends who are passionate about those things to remind ourselves why we care.

Yet perhaps we don’t have a passion for everything we are required to do. Recently, it was also suggested to me to find joy in the parts of my routine that I may not have chosen, but are necessary. What part of that core class, that SWOP job, that meeting, can bring you deeper into freedom by your embrace of the self-discipline it takes to keep going each day?

Let’s not allow these commitments to bind us like slaves. Instead, embrace them by finding the joy and the path to holiness that Christ offers you through them. Let your routines teach you self-discipline. Let them teach you holiness.