The Beauty in Routine

Autumn trees by a lake

Give us each day our daily bread.—LUKE 11:3 [NIV]

When I began to make more frequent trips to visit my parents who lived two states away, I was very task-oriented. I planned to clean, to shop for groceries, and to prepare a freezer full of meals. But each time I got ready to run errands, my parents wanted to go with me. Each time, they’d set the itinerary. We’d first stop at Steak ‘n Shake, where the waitresses knew their names and regular orders. Then we’d head to Walmart where my dad would park himself on a bench near the checkout and my mom would drive a cart. As my mom zipped through the store, I’d hurriedly throw my groceries into her cart, trying to keep up. Then my dad would meet us at the cash register to pay. This happened multiple times until their routine became mine.

A year later, when it was time to move them into assisted living near me, the transition was extremely difficult. But it didn’t take long before we found a Steak ‘n Shake nearby, and quickly met a favorite waiter who remembered us and our orders. And a nearby Walmart where my mom could drive a cart and my dad could wait on a bench. The routine that had frustrated me in the beginning had now become a saving grace, a way to ease the pain during a time of transition.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your tender mercies, even through our daily routines.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts