Practice Makes Perfect

During Holy Week, the Marsh Associates wrote and delivered a sermon on rituals. Since then, I’ve been trying to closer examine the rituals I practice in my life, which ones are healthy, and where I need to improve. The first that comes to mind is my weekly hour spent in prayer on Sunday mornings. Worship at Marsh Chapel, whether I see it as a positive start to my week or a peaceful conclusion, has really given me a new appreciation for my routine. I turn off my phone, sing as if Wesley himself were listening, pray alongside my community and really try to let the sermon and beautiful music from the choir sink in. In this weekly ritual I’ve laughed, cried, made important decisions and participating in the service has given me more confidence as a person of faith. I’m proud to call this place home.

But I wanted to think smaller to find a ritual I can appreciate each day. Until recently, I hated putting on makeup. Recently, I’ve taken some comfort in taking some extra minutes each morning. There’s a method, well-defined steps, and it wakes me up. I listen to some feel-good music and stare into my mirror. I’ve found that on days that I don’t want to do whatever it is, this process serves as the equivalent of a pep talk. Sure, I don’t think it matters if I go into the day with the right amount of color in my cheeks or mascara on my lashes, but this little ritual makes every day feel like a special occasion.

As for what I want to improve on, I knew I was missing a few things in my routine. I wanted to remind myself of the things that I am grateful for. The past couple of weeks, I think I’ve found a practice that achieves this goal threefold. First, I’m grateful for creation. I love being outdoors. Fresh air really clears my mind, so I’ve made a commitment to walk instead of taking the train whenever possible. It also helps me stay grounded in my gratitude for the incredible opportunities I’ve been given. I never thought I would be living in a city like Boston, and walking home past Copley Square, Fenway Park or along the Charles reminds me how lucky I am to be here. Finally, I’m grateful to the people who made all this possible. So, as I pass the common I always call my mom and dad. I’m often catching them between meetings, but even our shortest conversations are helping me to better stay in touch.

I’ve concluded that our sermon was spot on. Rituals make us feel safe and strong. I feel ready to take on new challenges as graduation approaches because of the foundations I’ve built. My four years here have shaped me into someone who cares more about the world, my community, and myself. I know I’m leaving this chapter with so much more than a good education.

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