Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent Day 4: Persistence

I remember when Saturday mornings meant sleeping in a bit, having a leisurely breakfast, and then tackling chores. My weekend jobs as a teen included dusting and vacuuming the house. For a few years, we lived in an old Victorian, which Dad fixed up enough to make habitable while building a new house.

The front stairs were the bane of my existence. The deep blue carpet remnant that outlined each step captured flecks of lint from socks, laundry, and an active family that included parents, three brothers and me. Each week, I spent half to three-quarters of an hour scraping little pieces of fluff into the vacuum, knowing next week would be the same. I hated cleaning that carpet and have never since purchased a dark single-color rug for the floor.

Some Saturdays, I wish I were back on hands and knees, balancing the canister on the stairwell. Life was simpler then. When chores were done, the bliss of an open day stretched ahead. I'd read, relax, or hang out with friends and family.

Today, I'm in conference meetings all day. At lunch with an adviser, we'll be working on the unending saga of my dissertation proposal. (Her comment: "It seems to be getting more confusing, not clearer. Seems like you've lost your way." Uh, yeah, as well as rapidly losing interest in a ballooning topic.) In the afternoon, I'll present a paper to a small cohort of scholars who may or may not be interested in what I've researched. It's not the Saturday of my childhood nor the weekend respite of my dreams.

Persistence in walking or crawling forward moves us along this faith journey. I hope the weekends may again be restful some day. However, watching the failing health of friends or their care for parents and grandchildren, I suspect those days may be gone forever. Rather than increasing ease, the spiritual life offers no retirement plan and no guarantees of lazy days ahead.

Jesus' faithful efforts and persistence took him to the cross. Can we expect anything else for ourselves as his followers?

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