Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning I walk to campus for 9:00am class…along the river, by the duck coffee shop (the ledge along the canal where ducks gather every morning to chat), past the St. Nicholas Cathedral, and onto campus.

When I’m on time (which has been surprisingly more frequent than usual) I cross paths with an older Irish man who makes a short journey across the street from his house to the church. He is remarkably consistent…every morning, 8:50, like clockwork.

When I encounter him on his daily pilgrimage, I often feel an internal longing for the continuity that marks his day-to-day experience—a reaction that has surprised no one more than me.

My parents used to joke about my need for regularity as a kid. My childhood babysitter served pasta and homemade bread every day at 12:00 sharp. If it was a few minutes off, I felt off as well. In the evenings at home, I methodically created my seat in the living room, placing a large cup of water and the TV remote in the same place each night. I valued holiday traditions above almost all else. I’m using the same backpack right now that I did in high school.

I was a creature of habit.

The past few years haven’t been very hospitable for such a creature, however. Living out of a bag is now the rule, not the exception. At least once a week I seem to say goodbye to a friend I may not see for months or years, if ever. As hard as I try to force little morsels of monotony into each day, the flux has taken over.

I suppose its good to feel a bit out of control. After all, control in life is always an illusion. Our only choice, really, is to surrender to the rule of uncertainty. But we all need some lines of continuity to remind us of who we are, and who we were, as we try to figure out who it is were going to become.

I have hope that someday I’ll have a daily walk somewhere…like the old man in Galway. But, until then, I’ll have to remain open to the flux…and be thankful that I have a life partner for the journey.

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