This might be a stretch.
On Saturday, a couple of coworkers and I volunteered to pick up trash along the Mississippi River. We met with some folks who live on a barge and clean up rivers professionally, and they motored us out to a tiny trash-strewn, bramble-filled island off the Mississippi where we picked up an assortment of moldy shoes, waterlogged Styrofoam blocks and a mostly-full container of Pennzoil oil.
Based on the assortment of trash seen on the island, I would maybe touch this stretch of the Mississippi River with my bare hands if my life depended on it, but also maybe not.
Over lunch on the barge (which is one hundred times nicer than my home and probably cleaner), one of my coworkers scored an invitation to hang out with the crew at a local brewery later that evening. Naturally when people who live on a barge invite you to hang out, you say yes, even if it disrupts your Typical Saturday Night Routine.
My Typical Saturday Night Routine goes something like this: eat dinner, check email, play with the cat, perhaps sew some quilt pieces if I’m feeling ambitious, write in the prayer journal and go to bed. Nights out on the town don’t really fit into my Typical Saturday Night Routine, but I figured I could shake up my evening just a little bit by spending an hour or two out with my coworkers and the barge crew.
And I might have only been out for an hour or two if someone hadn’t mentioned taking a trip to Snake Pit.
Located on the island we’d cleaned earlier, Snake Pit is an abandoned structure decorated in Christmas lights where the crew likes to hang out, listen to music and build campfires. A trip to Snake Pit would definitely be shaking up my routine and, while it sounded like a pretty good time, I also felt like my pillow would be equally as nice. Deep down, though, I was itching for an adventure, so I pushed thoughts of sleep from my mind, and quickly found myself and my coworkers clad in lifejackets in a boat skimming the water, heading to Snake Pit in the wee hours of the morning
For the record, there are no snakes at Snake Pit. Probably because St. Patrick banished them all. Get it, St. Pat.
Routines are great until they stop meeting your needs, which is why my prayer life had to change. For 20-odd years, my daily prayer routine was a few mealtime blessings and a nighttime prayer that I nearly always fell asleep during. I stuck with it because it was my routine—It was familiar! It was easy! It was also completely unfulfilling. My daily prayer routine met my wants, but it wasn’t meeting my needs.
This Lent, I’ve shaken up my prayer routine. It’s a little unfamiliar, a little harder and a lot more fulfilling. Sometimes you have to take a risk and make a change to your routine. Sometimes you have to visit Snake Pit.