I am always so oblivious to my own struggles. So immersed in them that I don’t take time to untangle these heart-knots, but instead tie more and more on top of them and while I’m trying to find a way out, wrap more strings around the knots already tied – only making them tighter.
Last semester left me so broken and disheartened by my ability to do well at school and that has bled into me thinking I don’t do well at all of life really- it left me without ambition to continue – without drive to set goals and really without even the ability to see the goals as something useful or even worthwhile. And I have a confession to make – I, a voracious reader, have not read a complete book since the close of last semester – It’s almost April – it’s been almost four months since I’ve read a book when in the past I would have read at least 10 books in that same amount of time. Every time I have sat down to read, I feel a sense of uselessness and un-productiveness – a feeling that I’m wasting my time reading when there is so much more I need to be doing:
Dishes, Laundry, vacuuming, planning, emailing, cleaning the house, organizing, making things more homey so that the kids can feel comfortable when they get home from school, helping them with homework, cleaning, dishes, laundry – (It’s a liturgy of life, and I always forget)
And in all of that I just feel like I’m trudging along – finishing things because they need to be done – I don’t even knit, or when I do,I only knit things because I’ve said I would finish them for some other purpose – helping a friend, making a donation – never for fun.
I find no joy in any of this and the small accomplishments of finishing the dishes or laundry, or getting the kids to school clean and fed and with homework in hand, only leave me feeling more broken and sad and tired and still like I haven’t done enough.
This morning I picked up a book – making a conscious effort to read SOMETHING – to pick up something that I would enjoy rather than something I have to read for a purpose, but something that I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting time reading….something though that I would keep reading, I was thinking light-hearted. I had about a half hour before it was time to wake up kids.
I have a lot of books – a lot of different genre’s of books and a shelf devoted just to books that I have yet to read – mostly these have been given by friends or relatives with hearty recommendations.
I picked up “Acedia & Me” by Kathleen Norris – with the thought that I absolutely loved “Quotidian Mysteries” 5 years ago, right after I had Anna (I can’t believe it’s been that long since I’ve read it..).
God has a funny way of providing for us when we can’t provide for ourselves. That book has been sitting on my shelf for 3 months at least and I’ve had grand intentions of picking it up, but had not honestly even read the forward to know what I was getting into.
This morning, while I helped the kids get ready, I sat and read the forward and first chapter, laughing and crying at myself the whole time.
So much for light-hearted….but perhaps it will make my heart lighter in the process of reading.
If you’re unfamiliar with this book, Norris is write about her own struggles with Acedia throughout her life and being to give a name to it.- Acedia was defined by the desert monks as the “noontime demon” which caused boredom and hopelessness to keep a firm grip on the monk who was attempting to pray constantly and devote each minute to God: “The demon drives him along to desire other sites where he can more easily procure life’s necessities, more readily find work to make a real success of himself.” In other words – Acedia convinces us that we can do better somewhere else – in some other realm, that the dragging on of these endlessly repetitive days are pointless and unnecessary.
So this is me friends – always, ALWAYS striving to change something so that life is easier – so it’s more palatable and livable – searching for ways to fill out this brokenness with doing and being, and actively avoiding the things that are in front of me to do – never being content to just live out a day and doing what I’m able and looking on to the next day to do again – just what I’m able, just what is necessary to continue on in this place.
So that is where I am today – It’s Holy Week – and between work and Church on Sunday I cried for an hour and have sat low in the places of my soul this week so far – trying actively to pull myself out of this cyclical depression of self and soul, all the while trying to care for sick kids(still cold/flu season at my house) and help them to grow into happy, functioning adults without the craziness I encounter in my life rubbing off on them. I read the Passover and Easter stories to Anna yesterday, out of her “Jesus Storybook Bible” and I cried through the whole thing – and she kept touching my face and telling me it would be okay – Jesus was going to come back.
And it’s Thankful Tuesday and I’m thankful that Jesus came back and is coming back and today and every day, I guess it’s okay if that’s all I can do.
And then I read this:
and I’m thankful for the reminders and ideas of others who are struggling and striving.
5 days left to plan a celebration. Maybe we’ll do some Easter crafting today.