Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading and Blogging

As I mentioned in my last post, my New Years Resolution is "to run!" In doing this, working towards this mentality (which is really a difficult thing for me), I am trying to read some books that I hope will inspire me. I cannot lose sight of this goal, I do not want to lose sight of this goal. Since I haven't been posting much as of late I thought that I would "try" to just post quotes now and again from the books that I am reading. Putting them here will help remind me of these little bits of inspiration and just maybe someone else might find them inspiring as well.

I am reading a few different books at different speeds (some take longer to digest then others). One of them is called "Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and 'Women's Work'." I am actually re-reading it, the first time being about 7 years ago. I used to own the book but have no idea where it went to. I must have loaned it out or something. This copy is from the library.
Quotidian means : occurring everyday; belonging to everyday; commonplace, ordinary.

She starts out talking about how we always have the "daily" with us; dishes, laundry, diapering, etc. But we've stigmatized it. All too often, however, we stigmatize such work as "menial," considering domestic or janitorial work to be suitable only for those who are too limited mentally to find employment elsewhere. Cleaning up after others, or even ourselves, is not what we educate our children to do; it's for someone else's children, the less intelligent, less educated and less well-off.

A few paragraphs later....

The fact that none of us can rise so far in status as to remove ourselves from the daily, bodily nature of life on this earth is not usually considered a cause for celebration, but rather the opposite. The daily routines that provide a modicum of discipline in our lives are perceived as a drag, a monotony that can occasion listlessness, apathy and despair. The word acedia is not much in use these days- The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "spiritual torpor or apathy; ennui"-but I wonder if much of the frantic boredom and enervating depression that constitute an epidemic in modern life are not merely the ancient demon of acedia in contemporary dress. Although acedia was long thought to be the province of monastics alone, plagueing them because of lack of distraction in their daily lives, I believe that the description of acedia given by the fourth-century monk Evagrius is as relevant to us in twentieth-century America as when it was written. He states that the bad thought, or demon of acedia "makes it seem that the sun hardly moves, if at all, and that the day is fifty hours long. Then [it] constrains the monk to look constantly out the windows, to walk outside the cell, to gaze carefully at the sun to determine how far it stands from the ninth hour" [i.e., lunchtime].
Once the monk has given in to these outward distractions, the thought of acedia moves inward, and Evagrius writes that it "instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself." He begins to think less of the other monks- we might translate this as our family , coworkers or neighbors--brooding on the ways they have angered, offended or merely failed to encourage him. "This demon, " Evagrius reports, then drives the monk "to desire other sites where he can more easily find work and make a real success of himself." Having rejected the present and present company, the monk begins to dwell in self-pitying "[memories] of his dear ones and his former way of life." Acedia then moves in for the kill, "[depicting] life stretching out for a long period of time, and brings before the mind's eye the toil of the ascetic struggle and, as the saying has it, leaves no leaf unturned to induce the monk to forsake his cell and drop out of the fight."

I can see how this can totally happen in the life of a stay at home mom.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

1 comment:

Xenia Kathryn said...

Me too!


I really, REALLY needed to read this, Susan! Thanks for sharing it.