Monday, April 4, 2016

Easter 9 Movement

When I was in grade school, I remember being taught that one of the characteristics of life is movement. Of course, all of us kids asked about plants, which are rooted in place, but we were reminded of how a plant turns its leaves and flowers toward the sun throughout the day. We were assured that all living things had some small movement to them.

I've had periods of feeling stuck. I may walk around fine, even turn my face to the sun, but there is a lack of movement in my spirit or heart or mind or however you want to name it. It's not life. It is, in fact, deadening.

In the world of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, this is sometimes named acedia. It gets translated into English in the "seven deadly sins" as sloth. Others refer to it as being depression. Perhaps there is overlap in all these experiences, but really acedia is a sense of overwhelm, hopelessness, boredom or anything along those lines that make a task at hand too much to accomplish. There descriptions of it making a day feel like it's lasting forever, that the sun will never go down and give us rest. Others speak of acedia as being a restlessness, a desire to leave whatever the current situation as an escape rather than being called to something new.

I think I've experienced all these aspects of acedia. I've given into the temptation to follow it's lead in leaving, in giving up, in not finishing, of getting stuck.

It is definitely devoid of life.

I've been seeing a spiritual director for maybe two years now. I've written about this relationship before. He speaks of how he doesn't look for "progress," but for "movement." Perhaps it's splitting hairs, but I've come to appreciate this distinction as he tells me he sees movement in me and I feel myself coming to life. It's a slow process, and if I were to measure for some sort of "progress," I don't know that I could give you a distance traveled.

But I do believe there is movement, even if it is only my face turning with the movements of the sun while my feet remain stationary.

A sign of life.

This life of faith is dynamic. It is not static.

This is my testimony of hope and resurrection. I will give thanks and praise to the God of life for movement in times of feeling stuck.

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