I’m passing by car the miles of Ireland and Scotland, and a million dewy green grass blades and pink sea flowers blur with speed. But strangely, the narrow roads, lined with old stony fences, magnify as we pass. I’m lost in the thoughts of tomorrow’s transition, contemplating if the banks of the river, that held yesterday’s personal dreams, will widen or narrow in the world that stretches beyond the change for which I prepare.
At the same time, I’m reading a book on acedia, an old-world word for apathy. At its archaic root, it means self-neglect. As one desert father wisely observed, acedia is possibly the root of all human depravity. The cure for self-neglect is the tender loving care and embrace of the minute details of the life for which one becomes steward — even the tiny bits that are so boring that they are beneath time, energy, and attention. I’m thinking about my house at home, full of messy drawers and closets and a sigh of utter boredom escapes my mouth.
The image of beloved Brother Andrew of French monastic renown, who found the joy of life and strength of God in the gritty, grubby boring mundane of service, passes through my mind. Rising no higher than a servant in this life, he wears a heavenly crown now.
Here I am in ancient Scotland now soaking in the Highlands, wild spring flowers, and taking to heart the old trodden paths of kings and conquerors. I’m inhaling the beauty and pressing my ear to the heart of Jesus, straining to hear about the day after today.
But this thought begs for my attention. I don’t know how the river will bend in the future, but I’m returning home determined to clean, tenderly and lovingly, my closets and drawers, to put them right in order — this is the self neglect in which I have engaged because I have been preparing and waiting for something more profound.
Bonnie Saul Wilks
May 29, 2016