When I lived in Alaska, some friends of mine had an expression I always liked. When something was happening, or some trip was planned and they didn’t go along on it, they had FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out – missing out on the social experience, the gossip, the time outside, whatever.
This term I’ve been going to Morning Prayer virtually every day. That means I have to get up earlier than I’d like and sometimes, especially now that it’s cold, there are many mornings when waking up in the dark to bike 10 minutes through the cold to get to the service isn’t entirely appealing. But I keep going anyway.
I was trying to figure out recently why it is that I keep going and realized I have FOMO. I’m afraid that at some service God is going to do something or act in my life in such a way that if I’m not there I’ll miss out on it. This might sound kind of silly but I routinely have several silly thoughts in a day (and they still let me into Yale!).
After a semester of doing this, I can’t say that God has utterly transformed my life while reciting the Venite for the umpteenth time. But I do think my daily attendance at Morning Prayer has helped me make some friends I wouldn’t otherwise and helped me feel like I’m a real part of the community and that’s an important transformation in its own way.
A friend of mine said a while back that the key to being a successful priest was “just keep showing up.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that. If you just keep showing up places and being a part of the community where you are, then good things start happening. It may not be the transform-in-a-moment I’m looking for but maybe that’s not what I need. Sometimes my attendance at Morning Prayer is “justified” simply by a brief hello with someone as we put on our coats at the end of the service. That’s perhaps as important as anything else.
Anyway, I’ll keep going to Morning Prayer next term but maybe it won’t be because of FOMO. Maybe it’ll be because I see the value of “just showing up.”