The sun counterattacks winter today – and I’m feeling guilty about being inside still, in my pajamas.
It doesn’t help to have a husband who often encourages me to relax. This morning, when he left for work, he actually encouraged me to sleep all day if I needed it. No complaints there, but I do wonder about my own struggle between decadence and industry.
It seems to be all or nothing: either I’m running around town with a thousand errands, frantically cleaning the house and wanting everything done now, or I’m sitting in my pajamas, wasting time and feeling depressed about my lack of ambition. Is there no middle ground?
Lounging, however, does give me time to philosophize, although I am also reminded of a wonderful bit of fantasy literature if I sit and think for too long. Terry Pratchett, who creates alternate worlds of preposterously funny and fabulous dimensions, writes about trolls who slowly turn to stone, as they sit and think about the world. They stop, sit down, and ponder. After decades, and eventually, millenia, their pondering about the universe overtakes their trollness, their aliveness, and they no longer remember who they are or where they came from. And they can’t move.
But lucky for me, my thoughts generally follow a restless, somewhat illogical path, so my philosophizing never lasts long enough to come to any advanced conclusions worth sitting down for hours to pursue.
So. There is inertia, which can lead one into depression or apathy – but there is also a kind of distracting activity that I can hide behind when I really don’t want to connect with other people or do something worthwhile with my time, like finish the book I’m working on.
For example, I don’t want to go outside today, merely to enjoy being alive, get some sun, and spend some time in much needed spiritual reflection. No, my motivation for going outside is to get some brown paper from the post office so that I can come home and wrap some Christmas presents. I’ll probably be tempted to troll the aisles of my favourite five-and-dime, and find out that I need a few things that happen to be on sale, and would make perfect gifts for people I never intended to give anything to, but feel suddenly guilty about. All hail, the giant chocolate bar, and the decorative tin of caramels.
And then, laden down with unplanned packages, after flipping through too many magazines about people infinitely richer and more beautiful than I, I will wander home, and it’ll be time to make dinner, time to prepare my clothes for work tommorrow, time to do last-minute fiddly things I forgot to do earlier, and all my best laid plans will have to wait. I was just too ‘busy.’
Today is December 1st, inaugurating 25 days of busyness that will come back to bite our credit cards. I’m going to attempt to spend these 25 days in peace.
Not the numbing peace of avoiding my daily tasks while flitting around the internet, nor the accomplished feeling of checking off a list of things I didn’t really need to get done today.
Inertia, while it evokes images of slothfulness and inactivity, can also mean a consistent state of velocity, as long as it is not acted on by any outside forces. In simpler terms, if I have a goal of preparing my heart towards Christmas and meditating on the sacred mysteries of God coming to earth, than anything else that comes along to bounce me off track is actually detrimental. Inertia, in this sense, is a good thing. I don’t want to be drawn off course, into shopping malls and postage line-ups, perfect stuffing recipies, and gift one-upmanship.
I do want to move forward, though, carrying out my duties and responsibilities at home and work, as well as projects of the heart that are meant to bless others, not merely to make me look like a good person.
Christmas is coming – which is cause for celebration, and peace: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14, King James Bible).
My hope and prayer for the next 25 days is simple. An inertia of the heart that gives gratitude and praise to God, while resting in a posture of peace and goodwill towards others. I have no illusions about how difficult this may prove, but I am going to set the ball rolling anyways.
I still need to go to the post office for that brown paper, but maybe today, I’ll take the long, beautiful way to get there.