As I contemplated writing about Tish Harrison Warren's chapter on losing keys, it immediately struck me as ironic—I hardly need my keys right now. I don't go anywhere. But Warren writes that losing keys shows us how we act when our plans are interrupted. I can cover up my sinfulness when all is going according to my plan, but when things are not, well, it is not so pretty. COVID-19 is not according to Valerie Tompson's plan.
Right now, my routines are as lost as misplaced keys. When keys get lost, "With them goes all sense of perspective." As I deal with current losses, and the losses are adding up for all of us, I forget the regular habits of taking care of myself, those around me, and my communities. I turn my focus on how I am impacted and on those immediately surrounding me—my family. I want to cling to and protect what we have, and some of that is wise, but a lot of it is about control. I also immediately forget that all good gifts have been given to us. I forget about giving regularly to places that help those who need extra care in these unprecedented times.
I am a planner, and losing keys is something I never plan for. I don't plan my days with an extra fifteen minutes to find something I have misplaced. If I planned to lose things, it would be an admission that I am not perfect, I can lose things, and I am fallible. And I don't want to be fallible—I want to maintain control. Warren writes that "In my anger [about losing keys] . . . I glimpsed for a few minutes, how tightly I cling to control and how little control I actually have. And in the absence of control, feeling stuck and stressed, those parts of me that I prefer to keep hidden are momentarily unveiled." I didn't plan for this pandemic. And I don't like all that it has revealed about me.
These days my keys tend to be close at hand, safely in the bucket at home, and honestly, I am irritated and angry about that. And then I am angry at myself for not recognizing all that I have been given. I wonder why I can't just be more content. But if I can be content in all situations (which is a nicer way of saying if I can be perfect in all situations), then I don't really need Jesus. God can use this interruption of my routine to remind me that I'm not perfect, but Jesus is perfect and he covers me. So when my days and weeks are not going as planned and my sinfulness is revealed, God knows me wholly and loves me perfectly.
City Church is reflecting on Tish Harrison Warren's book, Liturgy of the Ordinary. Our strange times are the furthest thing from ordinary, but her book explores the transformation that happens in the daily, monotonous rhythms of our lives. As many of us feel stuck doing all of life at home, we are reminded of how all of life is worship.