Skip to content ↓

Welcome Back, My Old Friend

I love summer, but I’m glad summer is over. I love summer vacation, but I’m relieved that summer vacation has finally come to an end. I love my kids, but I wasn’t too sad to see them head for their schools today—my daughters to their elementary school and my son, for the first time ever, to high school. I will miss them, of course, but for one reason, at least, I’m glad they are gone.

I am glad, because the end of the summer and the beginning of school marks the return of my good friend Routine—sweet, kind Routine.

Summer had some great moments of fun and relaxation. We had lots of good times vacationing and staycationing and otherwise enjoying the season. But it has also been tough. The day the kids left class for the last time and came home chanting something about “no more pencils, no more books…” I saw Routine following along behind them. His bags were packed and he was holding a ticket to somewhere far north, or maybe it was far south—I don’t really know. But I do know that he waved goodbye and disappeared that day.

I missed him this summer. This summer was full of all the things he keeps us from—late nights and late mornings, sleeping in and lounging around, ignoring chores and griping about responsibilities. Summer was marked by a longing for indolence and a resentment of activity.

But I had confidence that Routine would return. I was looking for him. Waiting for him. And sure, enough, this morning he came whistling up the path and into the house—it was 6:55 AM and he was exactly on time.

I love Routine. I guess there are some people who denounce him, who consider him an affront to their freedom and their desire to live with spontaneity. I thrive with Routine. My family thrives with Routine, with the regular, repeated, predictable pattern of events that unfold roughly the same way day after day, and week after week. Life is just so much better when he is around and when he is doing his thing.

With Routine in our lives, I wake up at the same time every day. I come downstairs at the same time. I pick up my Bible and read it at the same time. I log a few minutes of blog writing at the same time. I wake Aileen and then the kids at the same time. We troops downstairs and read the Bible together at the same time. We eat breakfast at the same time. We get dressed and ready at the same time. We go out the door at the same time, to get the school bus or hit the highway at the same time. It’s all so predictable. It’s all so anticipated. It’s all so formulaic. It’s all so awesome.

That is just how it happened today, and, I trust, just how it will happen tomorrow and the day after. Already Routine has left his mark, and our lives are so much better this way. Welcome back, my old friend.


  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (July 18)

    A La Carte: Does Christian sex need rescuing? / 15 resolves for interpersonal conflicts / How senior pastors can help associate pastors / it’s okay to be okay / Don’t be proud of what you had no say in / How sweet! / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Protecting the Family Name

    Protecting the Family Name

    It is a conversation I had with my son-in-law while he was pursuing my daughter and expressing his interest in marrying her. It is a conversation I will need to have with a second son-in-law if the day comes when he expresses his interest in marrying my other daughter. It is a conversation about the…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 17)

    A La Carte: Every place is a place to talk about Jehovah / A precious mystery / How marriage shows the beauty and poetry of the gospel / What should we learn from the immensity of the heavens? / Should we call church a family? / Commentary sale / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 16)

    A La Carte: All we have left undone / What does the Bible teach about divorce and remarriage? / How America’s premier theologian interpreted God’s providence after Lincoln’s assassination / Will God judge people for being born Muslim? / Theological discernment is for moms too / Prime Days / and more.

  • My Most Common Pastoral Counsel

    My Most Common Pastoral Counsel

    Among my responsibilities as an elder/pastor within a local church is meeting with people to offer counsel and guidance. I have never lost the wonder of being given so sobering a privilege—to listen to people as they share their deep sorrows or ask their big questions and to then attempt to bring the Word of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 15)

    A La Carte: The desires of your heart / Contentment isn’t only for hard times / On the hosting of mission teams / Be careful of your strengths / Yes, we’re almost there / Kindle deals / and more.