“Wonder will be the sign
that we are on the way.”
~ Monks of Weston Priory, Song of Creation
These days, I get home from work and land in a heap. Perhaps it’s the month-plus of damp weather; perhaps it was my struggle out of an illness a few weeks ago- or even routines both tedious and precarious. Summer is a rather uncharacteristic time to sense the relentlessness of the long haul. Even my car looked battle weary, especially as its alternator finally gave out- en route to the repair shop. Watching my faithful road-craft up on the garage lift caused me to wonder about maintaining direction. Not to mention its cost. Indeed, keeping inspired means more than focus. Even beneath the weight of tedium there needs to be an enduring sense of wonder.
By this, I am thinking of something more than surface curiosity. The water is wide, and this marathon continuum must traverse the most exhausting terrain. Oswald Chambers wrote how “drudgery is the touchstone of character,” referring to that state of affairs in which there is “no illumination, no thrill, but just the daily round; the common task.” We are enjoined to hallow the ordinary. By doing this my thoughts turn to questioning the sources from which I appear to live- and the sources that need more of my attention.
Somehow, in the face of this marathon’s trials, there seems a form of spiritual adrenaline. Yet, still, inspiration cannot be coaxed; it must be discovered- and not as a focal point, rather a beginning. And for those of us who write, we know the subtleties- even the elusiveness- of creativity. My end of things is left to alertness, flexibility, and motion. The insights invariably arrive, but ever reminding me they are not entirely of my powers. The less strain, it seems, the more pertinent. For instance, during a workday break, I decided not to write, but instead to enjoy a rare moment of calm weather to perch on a bench amidst the sounds and rainglossed colors of the weekly downtown farmers’ market. Witnessing the vendors’ collective relief caused me to take stock of the nuances that strengthen. Many smiles and servings of free samples. It reminded me that keeping aware also means seeking ways to learn anew. With renewed perspectives, the small notices become key pivot points.
If I’m going to keep from stopping dead in my tracks, it will be necessary to follow reminders I saw at the mechanics’ garage. A wise elder friend once taught me that although hardships are inevitable, misery is always optional. This line of thinking paves the way for a view that sees dilemmas as temporary. Stepping stones leading from one to another, simply as means of access. As my parameters seem to close in, there is useful intuition in simply going out- even for those fifteen minutes in the swirl of the open-air market. The trick is to never quit trying to find the energizing gems, the needed vitamins, the words of inquiry and of life, to keep my steps in forward travels. Living hope untethers from tedium, even well aware of the stepping-stone-shaped trials. In a simple exterior instant, my immediate sphere comprehends something new. But how self-centered to presume that which appears to revolve around me! More accurately, my being is an ingredient in the spheres of others. To what extent is not for me to know. The unknowing is more than satisfactory.