"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

05 April 2005


In an Os Guinness book I've been reading this semester for a discussion group I'm leading, he quotes George Santayana: "In accomplishing anything definite a man renounces everything else." And Auden: "To achieve anything today, an artist has to develop a conscious strictness in respect of time which in former ages might have seemed neurotic and selfish, for he must never forget he is living in a state of seige." And Solzhenitsyn: an artist "has no other recourse if he does not want to overheat himself with ephemeral concerns and boil dry."

We find our center in Christ. That's a given. But it's easy to become a Martha, serving Him and desiring to serve Him, but bustling about doing all too much that is not necessary because He doesn't call us to do it.

Easy to say that means that we should be sure to do our morning devotions and dedicate our day to Him. But I think that's only a small, small part of what is needed. Every moment needs to be lived in reliance on Him and knowing we are doing what He has called us to do. But how to do that, really, when life itself is so fragmented and demanding?

Last night -- prepping for a literature class, a worldview class, and a writing class; helping the boy with his algebra; discussing family communication issues; trying to help research legal questions arising from a decision to sell some property; then trying to focus on a writing idea and finding it impossible. Too much that's too varied and saps my energy, but even more frustratingly scatters my thoughts, making me unable to concentrate on anything for any length of time. All of it was necessary, yes, and even good, but does God mean us to live such scattered lives? And how can one live otherwise and meet one's obligations?

Guinness notes in the same chapter that the idea that "the need is the call" is a dangerous one, "a sure recipe for overload and confusion." No kidding. But how does one choose? How does one be "single-minded"? Too easy, too easy to say "do everything in service to Him." Because one cannot do everything.


amelia ruth said...

Oh, I agree, I agree! So much I want to accomplish (and by the way, I never did finish that story that I was going to refine for the contest! Easter just came too quickly for me) and I don't want to resign myself to just not accomplishing, and yet there are so many other things I must take care of first. My family was here this weekend, which put me behind.

And then I discovered this really great thought-provoking blog, so that right now while I should be writing a Lit paper, I'm instead writing comments.

Hmm. I must escape this madness.


alaiyo said...

Don't blame me, young lady! :) I had the gall to talk about single-mindedness in the worldview discussion group this morning, and learning to walk in the Spirit to discern what really is our call and responsibility moment by moment . . . but I was preaching to me, not to the poor students who had to listen to it . . . Hang in there. One thing I do know -- He is listening and He cares.