The Rhythm of Life

Weekly Reflection, Friday, June 11

By: Eleanor Wellford

Recently, I’ve heard myself saying too many times and to too many people that I’ve lost my “rhythm.” Those words seem to come out so naturally and sincerely, but I’m wondering now what I mean by that. What kind of rhythm have I lost?
I used to work with a man who always talked about biorhythms and what stage he was in at the moment and how they could explain how he was feeling, acting, and performing. Biorhythms are made up of peaks and troughs during any 23-day period. A person’s stamina, health, and strength are influenced by where he or she is in relation to those peaks and troughs. So, if I wanted to do well in a tennis match, I should play it when my biorhythms are peaking. And for my sake and for everyone else’s, I should just stay home when they’re in a trough.

My life, however, can’t be lived like that. I do believe there is a natural rhythm to my body which some people refer to as a circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle. Before electricity was invented, our ancestors woke up when it got light outside and went to sleep when it got dark. Life on the farm is often still like that and many animals and insects and birds still follow that cycle.

My life can’t be lived like that, either. So what kind of rhythm have I lost? I’ve lost my way and timing of doing things, which I notice most when I’m leading worship. Before our church was closed due to the pandemic, I knew what parts of the service came next – without even thinking about it. The service just flowed. Now, I’m constantly looking at the bulletin to make sure I don’t do or say something out of order. Or, I look to remind myself of some of the words that I used to know by heart.

God’s creation is full of natural order and rhythm and cycles. Like God, they are unchanging. We humans are the ones trying interfere with that order to suit our own needs and busyness. We stay up too late; we eat too fast; we sneak in a prayer or two in the shower or while we’re driving instead of intentionally giving God thanks and praise for the beauty and promise and gift of each new day.

The rhythm that I seem to be longing for is the rhythm of familiarity amidst the unknown; the rhythm that grounds my life with purpose and meaning instead of simply getting through the day. It’s the rhythm of the Holy Spirit in my life that I want back – and since I’m impatient, I want it back now. The ironic part is that I don’t think that rhythm ever left. It’s just my awareness of it that did.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.” -Psalm 139: 1-3