It is stormy out, the wind whipping through the trees, clouds swirling about, rain coming down, mixed with sleet, mixed with snow. Illuminated by light, the colors of the trees become bold, strident greens, sharp browns. All that can be heard is the sound of the rain patter on the soil and roof, to which I add the mournful sound of a tin whistle in subtle harmony with the wind and rain. My breath clouds up around, my hands begin to shake in the cold, yet I continue to stand and play, participating in the chorus of nature, seeking by this to raise my mind again to the heights.
The monks of old say the cure for acedia is manual labor. Get the body moving and the mind will follow. Exercise is this, in part, for they certainly did not mean any kind of work. Sitting in front of a computer for eight hours, even for a salary, is not the path. Movement, activity, getting the body into a renewed rhythm, focusing the mind on external things, that is the way, the response.
Acedia taps the soul, encouraging one to forget to meditate on the virtues, and that is a very slippery slope. I sin most in moods like this, because hey, I feel crappy anyhow, might as well give a reason for it. It’s a lie of course, the slide away from the heights. It is very easy to lie to oneself. Today, I suffer from a mind numbing cold, more a bother than a worry, but a bother which robs me of creativity, and robs me of a moment of needed exercise. I move and I start coughing. So, I neither can write nor can I move, the answers to the internal darkness.
It then becomes a day for prayer, for reaching out purposely. Even that falls short, my only prayer an earnest, “help”. I wait, and sit, and pray that simple prayer, wishing for more to present itself, waiting for God’s timing. There is virtue to be found in waiting in the cell, for we are forced to contend with our worst enemy, ourselves. I yearn to taste of those things of God, yearn to feel his presence fully around. I pray, and I hear a response I do not want, “wait.” Yes, Lord. I think I’ll go back out and harmonize with the elements again.
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