Study

I was reading about routine and was reminded that two thirds of our day is devoted to work and rest, so it is in that remaining third we must pack in prayer, meals, companionship, and here’s the kicker, study.

 

The author recommends that at least one day a week be devoted to rest and study. We should set aside time to reflect and renew, and that all growth and healing is not conscious. We must give ourselves time to mend and germinate.

 

We spend so much of our early life going to school and hopefully learning, it is natural to think when school is over we don’t have to study anymore. But the author is right, study is an essential part of our being. I also think that as we grow older and hopefully wiser we find study an intense source of pleasure.

 

So as this week begins find time to incorporate some form of study into your weekly routine. It might be as rewarding as my four years of taking the EFM program offered by Sewanee to merely picking up a bible, trade publication, or a good book. But in some fashion incorporate study into your week and before you know it a whole new world will be open to you and will continue to be there all your days.

Outlook

 

 

that it is our outlook

that confers values on our experiences,

and that nothing that occurs to us

is intrinsically good or bad.

 

The author of Always We Begin Again writes a lot about what he calls the twelve stages of humility. I commend it to you, but I won’t recite the whole thing. But one of the nuggets I found reminds me of the words of Frankel, in his work The Meaning of Life. It also is the message I try to give the people I counsel who are about to go to prison about attitude and how one can get so much out of the experience if you go into it with the right attitude.

 

I recognize it is hard and sometimes downright impossible to believe that “nothing that occurs to us is intrinsically good or bad” if you are facing serious illness or in the middle of what seems to be a tragedy. Yet, how many times have we come out of what seems to be an awful circumstance and told ourselves, “that wasn’t so bad” or “I learned a lot from that experience.”

 

I think the author hits the nail on the head when he uses the words “our outlook.” We are called to be content with what circumstances may place in our path, trusting in God, and looking for opportunity and value in both the good and the bad.

 

Silence

Followers of The Pew know what a big advocate I am for “silence.” The author of the Benedictine Way reminds me that in each day there must be time for silence. “There must be time within which we neither speak or listen, but simply are.”

This is harder than one might think.  Our days often begin with noise, whether it be an alarm clock, a dog needing to go outside, a child needing breakfast, I can go on and on, not to mention those earplugs that seem to be permanently affixed to everyone’s ears these days. But it is important each day to take stock, to just be, and just as a doctor says drink water throughout the day, our body, our mind, and our soul also need a time where we are alone with ourselves. You exist for a purpose and in the silence of your presence you find that reason.

Consider your work place. Who is often the wisest and securest person in the room. It is the person who listens to all, and speaks very little.

Humility

 

Cultivate humility.

To be exalted is to be in danger.

 

One lesson in sports we all learn is “no one can win all the time.” It is a life lesson as well, as a life based on triumph over others will never fulfill. As we meditate this week consider your life and ask yourself how much of it is based on getting ahead, acquiring more, and/or a desire for perfection. If it is, there will come a point when there is either defeat or no more mountains to climb. What then?

 

Humility teaches us not to add, but to take away. In one of God’s many paradoxes, the way to obtain perfection is to free from any desire for it.