Thursday, February 8, 2018

A touch of spice

A touch of spice
Joan Chittister

Everyone gets into periods in their lives that seem endlessly grey, totally gone. Life always ends before it begins again, just as night precedes day. That is exactly what spiritual resurrection is all about. It is also what psychological resurrection implies.

Excitement seldom comes unbidden in life. If we want to put some excitement back into our lives, we must be willing to put it there ourselves. We must be willing to change directions when the path we’re on has become more a cul-de-sac that leads only back to where we once began than a path that moves us forward in life.

Sometimes the changes are simple ones—like learning to garden very late in life—but they are never without a purpose. I begin something to learn something new. I join things to get out of the house for a change or to meet new people or to exercise or simply to stop doing nothing but the same old things. I join to give my soul an airing.

Sometimes the changes are momentous—like marrying again or going back to school or changing jobs.

Sometimes the changes are meant not so much to change my life as to stir my soul. I begin to read a book a little every day. I begin to take weekends away alone. I begin to see a spiritual director. I begin to take photography lessons. I join a bowling team on Tuesday nights.

But whatever the reason, whatever the purpose of the activity itself, I know deep down that, for the first time in a long time, I have added a touch of spice to the bland that is my life. My mind wakes up; my heart starts to smile a bit; my soul gets dusted off and begins to shine again.

It is so easy to die before we have ever begun to live. Having spent life doing all the things a person is expected to do—finish school, decide on a profession, get a job, make a living, find a house, settle down—someday I discover, if I’m lucky, that I’ve seldom done anything out of time or just because I wanted to or because I refused to spend another thirty years doing what I’ve been doing for the last thirty.
 Welcome to the Wisdom of the World by Joan Chittister
The insight is electric: I am alive, finally alive!

If the question is, What does it take to put excitement back into life? the answer is a simple one. It takes me doing something I’ve never done. It takes the willingness in me to move beyond my lifelong boundaries, out of my comfort zone, into the world. It may even require me to do it alone, if necessary, but always with a purpose.
      —from Welcome to the Wisdom of the World by Joan Chittister (Eerdmans)