Confession time: I missed church 3 or 4 Sundays in a row this past month. I certainly didn't notice right away, but over time, not worshiping every week had an effect on me. I was back this past Sunday, and I stayed for the singing during both services because I needed it that badly. The experience reminded me of some words I read in the Spring.
"[this] should not surprise churchgoers. Whatever you do repeatedly has the power to shape you, has the power to make you over into a different person -- even if you're not totally 'engaged' in every minute"
-- Paul Bosch, commenting on a study monitoring the daily habits of couples in order to determine what produced good and stable marriages. (As quoted by Kathleen Norris in Acedia and Me)
Norris reflects further:
"So there. So much for control, or even consciousness. Let's hear it for insincere, hurried kisses, and prayers made with a yawn. I may be dwelling on the fact that my feet hurt, or nursing some petty slight. As for the words that I am dutifully saying -- "Love you" or "Dear God" -- I might as well be speaking in tongues, and maybe I am. And maybe that does not matter, for it is all working toward the good, despite myself and my most cherished intentions. Every day and every night, whether I "get it" or not, these "meaningless" words and actions signify more than I know. Repetition is "anti-glop." It helps us to be more honestly and fully human. It knows us better than we know ourselves."
So, here's to us all finding the good things and sticking with them even when we grow bored. Lather, rinse and repeat. Your spirit will thank you.