This article below came to me in an email and I received permission to use it here. — Rosana
My kids and I go to church each Sunday. We’ve been at the same parish for over a decade. I love my church a whole lot.
On a recent Sunday, about three quarters of the way through the service, my fellow congregants and I were kneeling and singing a hymn called “Agnus Dei” (it’s super old) when the building lost power. The overhead lights went out, of course, and the pipe organ immediately fell silent.
The room wasn’t exactly dark—there was a fair bit of natural light coming through the frosted windows along the northern wall—but there was definitely far less light than the moment before.
Funny thing, though: after everybody figured out what had happened—this took less than a second—we all continued to sing the hymn as if nothing had happened at all.
Nobody needed to look up the words or read the hymnal to sort out the melody.
We just sang.
Because we sing this song every Sunday. No exaggeration: myself, I’ve sung Agnus Dei hundreds of times.
(The power blinked back on after about 15–20 seconds, while we were still singing. The organist was even able to elegantly reintroduce the music as we finished singing the hymn.)
In our tradition—we’re kneel-sit-stand-and-cross-yourself types—the Sunday mass is largely the same each week. Other than certain prayers and scripture selections that vary from week to week, the structure and basic form of the mass doesn’t change.
We have a system, in other words.
It’s existed for hundreds of years and withstood the test of time.
For most of us, the mass has become “muscle memory” of a kind. I don’t need to read any of the prayers we say or many of the hymns we sing because, lots of years ago, I found that I’d memorized them all, simply by repeating them each week.
This kind of system creates a certain resilience. The longer and more thoroughly we practice something, the easier it is to execute normally when unexpected things happen.
That’s where I would end the article. He was using it to sell a weekly planning notebook he designed (which I haven’t seen), so I will quote that part too:
And just like in church, it’s possible for our weeks to have rhythm and structure. Some parts change—like the tasks we mean to complete—and some things don’t.
If you want to plan your week so you can keep on task—even when things go a little squirrelly—you can do it. You just need to plan it properly.