Advent 2016

advent

Simple, little things can make such a difference. I have been struggling of late to feel connected to God.  I have felt like straight-up, old school discipline (which has been in short supply itself!) has been the only thing holding my relationship with God together. But when things begin to feel forced, I tend to want to drop them.  And so there’s the potential for a “death spiral” to begin: The less I’m “feeling it” the less I want to try which means, of course, I “feel” it less, and so on.

I experienced a respite in all this last night as I set-up an informal little altar of sorts for our Northumbria Community Group. Being Advent season, I ventured into the cold rainy darkness and cut an arm load of greens from several trees. I have no design talent what-so-ever, but I made an attempt to place them on our mantle in some sort of attractive array and and then accented them with candles and a replica of a High Cross. Just something to focus our eyes on, and maybe then help us focus our thoughts:

The Evergreens: A co-opted pagan practice used to remind us of eternal life, and the promise of it’s reality made possible through the Incarnation.

The Candles: Light has entered the world, but the darkness has not overcome it! Even in deepest winter, light can and will prevail.

Simple little things can make such a difference.

St. Ozzy Part 5

20160807_053947Adams moves his narrative along to The Venerable Bede.  Bede, a Northumbrian monk, is credited by all historians I know of, with recording the best and earliest history of the English people and their church. Nearly everything we know of saints like Aidan, Cuthbert, Hild, and others is owed to Bede’s best known work, “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”, completed in about 731AD.

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Bede entered the cloistered life early and most of it was spent in study, writing and prayer at the monastery in Jarrow.  it is believed that, as young boy when the Plague had swept through Europe and wiped out most his brothers, only Bede and the Abbot were left well enough to maintain the daily offices and other duties for a time…and they did not fail.

He was diligent, ordered, persistent and disciplined.

I hate this guy.

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As we walked the same paths that Bede walked, I struggled with discipline…like I always do.

I have learned over my hiking career that the discipline of stopping to rest every hour for just 5 minutes, taking a drink of water, getting off my feet and maybe a quick snack,  can make all the difference in the world in maintaining stamina and avoiding injuries. Other disciplines include changing socks once a day and immediately stopping to attend to any “hot spots” one feels on the feet BEFORE they become blisters.

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I have experienced the blessing of following these disciplines, and also the pain of ignoring them. So why would I ever..EVER ignore them?

How can I walk the same paths as the Most Venerable (and disciplined) Bede, soaking up the same atmosphere, breathing the same air, drinking the same water…and still be so undisciplined? It is a struggle to take breaks when I know I should, to say the offices, to drink as much water as I need, to walk slower then I want…on and on the list continues of things that I know I should do, that in many cases I WANT to do.

Yet, so often I do not.

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For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  -Romans 7:18-19  

Patient endurance attaineth to all things. – Mid Day Office                            

                                       

If you want your dream to be, take your time, go slowly. Do few things but do them well. Simple Joys are Holy. -Donovan

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So often rushing.

So often distracted.

So often interrupted.

So often frustrated.