Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: March 8, 2004

evening

Squirrels eat less on sunny days. In the winter storms it seemed I needed to replenish the rails once a day. Tonight it seems there is little seed gone from yesterday. Still, it is calm, and comparably warm. My window is open, though I bear cold better than most. A dog barks in the distance. The scent of the forest wafts through, spurred by the rain and snow now dry.

Temptations are never to overcome us. Of course they do, but we are not slaves to these anymore. Always there are ways away, if we are willing ourselves to be away.

Today was a day of peace, and yet… there were avenues in which I saw myself slide. So, I worked on assorted tasks, keeping me busy. I went for a long, welcome run through the hills, realizing I hadn’t run in too long. It felt wonderful. I chatted with a friend, a welcome conversation. And I kept on the straight and narrow.

Each vice has a response which is most effective, each of the disciplines are used in a palette of spirituality, letting us color in response to the rhythms of our life and our particular faults.

We think the assaults will continue, our descents will never end, until we stop and respond, consciously acting against our inner selves, forcing upon our minds the power of a stronger spirit. Eventually, we do not fight those battles any longer, for we always win. And if we don’t? Then we forget what is behind and strain for what is ahead. We give up and we blame our sinful sense, forgetting that no temptation is to great for us to fight. We let ourselves be weak, and consider it our lot. No, spiritual exercise is as brutal as physical. Running up a steep incline for many miles takes the same will as fighting sin for a day. Each moment asks us to quite and cave in, each step forward takes us closer to our goal. That is the hope and promise. The peace is that if we stumble, there will be one there to pick us up and keep us going. Ours is not a lonely battle, but it is a battle. Everyday, every moment, until eternity is fulfilled.

morning

A steller’s jay eats seed on the rail. Another screeches from a nearby branch. It is a warm morning. The sun is out bright and strong, no indication of last week’s winter wonderland. Shadows of branches sway slightly on the trunks of trees. The breeze is bare, only just. Distant vehicles at work add the only sounds besides the birds. A single spider web is exposed by the sun’s glare, stretching from sapling top to ground.

The cold is now over, the weather returns to the standard fare. And I restore my schedule. Up early to write, to update, to ponder mysterious of creativity and spirituality. My feeling today is that of wanting progress, to engage the tasks before me steadily and with renewed zeal. I’ve had a break of sorts, not quite stopping, but retreating in part, so now today I feel enthusiasm again to jump fully into the fray.

I feel excited about God’s gifts this morning, eager to rest in him and wait for practical results. There is only one thing I lack, and that is the money to sustain myself through all of this. But for that weakness, I would be very content. Then, though, I would not need faith. A simple day awaits, in which I continue to press onwards. Steadily, if not quickly, I much more the tortoise than the hare. I feel peace, really, that is all I can say. Calm before the storm? Ease in the midst of the eye? Or real peace, with the storm moving past, I do not know. It is not for me to know, I suppose, only be ready for whatever may come whether temptations of want or plenty.

This past weekend had a marker quality, I have no idea why. Some weeks drift languidly into another, little distinction, little of note. The last few days seem long in duration, important for spiritual causes. Friday seems such a distance ago. God indeed gives markers along the Way, some are harder to see certainly. All I know, is that this morning I feel like I have reached a higher rung. I cannot clarify why or how I feel this, only that something was past, and all continued to be well. May God continue to lead in and through all.

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