I pride myself at finding patterns in things. I like to "fly at 60,000 feet" in my world and see the bigger picture and look for patterns, for threads, for the individual stories that make up the whole, whatever that whole may be. I like to see how things fit together. I think that's all good.
The thing about patterns in every day life, though, is that one has to have some distance - in every sense of the word - to see them. It is only in retrospect, often, that patterns in one's life become more clear. That clarity is useful in helping one break negative patterns, but it is often missing in the confusing present. And, taken to the extreme, patterns become restrictive to the point of being pre-destinatory. (I'm thinking of John Millington Synge's play Riders to the Sea which made a huge impression on me as a college student studying literature.)
Of course, there are positive patterns, too. Recalling them helps bolster one's self-esteem and resolve, providing a matrix out of which growth and excellence and all sorts of good things come.
As Lent approaches, and I wonder what my disciplines will be in addition to committing to daily prayer and self-examination (which I already do, mostly, but hope to do more faithfully and intentionally during Lent) and, of course, playing Lent Madness, I wonder if I might not take a break from so much looking back and placing things into patterns. I wonder if it has become navel-gazing. I wonder if it is keeping me from being more forward looking. I wonder if it is keeping me from living fully instead of helping me do so.
Probably not for the whole of Lent, but for the next few days, I hope to give the churning wheels in my brain a rest. I think they are tired of spinning this way and that. Maybe I am due a season of a kind of rest and restoration right now.
We'll see. Because, of course, I'll need to look back after a few days and see what pattern is emerging and go from there.