We are told that it is going to get us. We’re told that it’s a dancer. We are even told that because of it we can forget about the worries on our mind and leave them all behind. And apparently if we have it, along with music and a girl or guy, we couldn’t ask for anything more.
“What is it?” I hear you ask. And the answer is that I’m talking about rhythm.
As someone from a relatively musical family, playing a couple of different instruments and someone who spent a lot of her formative years dancing, rhythm has always been in my life. It was the thing that you were either with or not, relentlessly pointing out if you didn’t quite know your notes or choreography.
But over the last few months rhythm has become something that I appreciate in a whole new way…
Let me tell you a story (sitting comfortably?) On May 6th 2016 I got up and went to work. I wandered across the road, met one of my bosses and we said morning prayer together, and then I went to school. That’s not the whole story though, let me tell it again and fill in some of the gaps. On May 6th 2016 I got up way earlier than normal because I was too excited to sleep. I put on a pretty dress and wandered across the road that was already lined with hundreds of people. I met one of my bosses and we were escorted into church by some police. We said morning prayer together, and then waited in church for a service that was attended by Her Majesty, the queen. I then went to school to see the queen again.
There are countless other stories though. Stories about other days that haven’t been as memorable. Days that are just days, mundane in their uniformity. Or days that do stand out and can be remembered for less magical reasons. The tough days, the difficult days, the days (over the last few months) where I have been stuck in Berkhamsted while people I love have been ill and in pain somewhere else.
But there is a thing that ties all the stories together though and its rhythm. A rhythm that I have found and grown to love in the last year and a half, a rhythm that has been beating in the world for centuries and rhythm that I think has always been inside me, waiting to be found.
On one of the very best day of last year, when we were visited by royalty and on some of the worst days of last year, where I barely managed to be at work stringing sentences together, the rhythm of morning and evening prayers played on.
It isn’t simply saying the prayers that provide the rhythm though, it is the words themselves, there is a deep rhythm in the liturgys. Ancient words, words that have been said in the same way, in the same order for thousands of years, prayers that are as ever true today as they were when they were written. These words that are the same and will be said regardless of whether you are having a wonderful day, about to meet the queen and bubbling over with praise; or so overcome with sadness that you don’t even have the words to say.
This blog is not an advert for daily prayer, though there are certain people in my life who would literally be skipping with glee to hear my ode to morning and evening prayer, but I am instead perhaps advocating for simply finding rhythm.
Find your rhythm. Find those ancient words, that eternal song, the beating that is happening in the world and within you, work out where they connect. Find that deep place of rhythm within you, tying joy sand sadness together, holding them in tension.
On a day when so many across the world are at a loss for words, perhaps the deep rhythm of ancient prayers, of ancient stories of God’s faithfulness, of fundamental and eternal truths are the things that we can turn to for comfort and direction.
That’s the thing about rhythm, it goes on, even when we’re tired, when we want to give up, when we can’t imagine carrying on; rhythm goes on, giving us the strength to go on with it.