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Saturday, June 12, 2021

    Again and Again

    Aleese Kenitzer
    Aleese Kenitzer serves as the pastor of Shepherd of the Cross Church in Muscatine.

    Muscatine Living

    It was a Sunday evening as I was preparing for the coming week that I went downstairs into my basement to grab something. With my mind focused solely on the task at hand, I was moving so fast that I just about stepped in the puddle of water at the base of the stairs. Stopping just short of it, I sighed. There it was again – water in my basement. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen it (or, unfortunately, the second, or third). So, seeing it seep in once again, it reminded me that, this time, I really should tell my landlord so it wouldn’t be a problem moving forward.

    Climbing back upstairs, I finished the task at hand before turning my attention to my schedule for the upcoming week. Having recently adopted a practice of running three times a week, I put a solid red block in my Google Calendar – again and again – visually indicating to me that this was not something optional. It was something I needed to commit to doing, not only to improve my physical well-being, but also my mental and emotional health.

    Again and again and again and again. In the matter of 30 minutes, two things that happen again and again in my life were clearly revealed to me. One was for my betterment, and one was, well, clearly not.

    These two examples might seem frivolous, but I think it points to a deeper truth. By this point, we’ve been living in the wake of a global pandemic for almost a year. In the span of that time, I have a feeling that I haven’t been the only one who’s turned a blind eye to those things happening again and again in my life that, actually, just need to be cleaned up. On the flip side, I have a feeling that I haven’t been the only one who’s developed good habits, furthering my own well-being (and in turn, the well-being of those around me).

    So, what would happen if we all took a bit of time to determine what is happening again and again and again in our lives? On the one hand, it may reveal to us certain habits that are less than helpful. And on the other hand, it may reveal parts of ourselves, or our practices, that positively contribute to who we are, where we’re at, and how we desire to live our lives.

    For Christians, today marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a season of repentance and a return to prayer. It is also a season of self-reflection, to consciously assess our lives – not purely for our own sake, but to more fully live in relationship with ourselves, with our God, and with those around us.

    So, whether you’re committing to a season of Lent or not, what would happen if we all reflected on what we find happening again and again in our lives? In the next week, take a moment to think about your life, your patterns, your schedule, your habits. Are there things that happen – again and again – that just need to be cleaned up? Are there things that happen that could be nurtured even more? Challenge yourself to honestly reflect. To do so will take a bit of courage, for we might not always be thrilled with what we find when we take a close look at what’s really going on in our lives, but having taken the deep dive, we just might liberate ourselves from the mess of those things that need to stop so we can create space for other things to happen again and again and again and again.

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