Sunday, January 02, 2005

the necessary discipline

I came across this excerpt today as I was reading a published journal of a novelist and poet. It struck me because it included a phrase that some of us hold to in our community. I’m reminded of it often by Billy as a word of encouragement and a call to persevere in the true stuff of the spiritual discipline of a life in mission – that is, “the discipline of the work.” For me this quote communicated a redemptive truth about being human. In her reflection on solitude, May Sarton writes:

“I have said elsewhere that we have to make myths of our lives, the point being that if we do, then every grief or inexplicable seizure by weather, woe, or work can – if we discipline ourselves and think hard enough – be turned to account, be made to yield further insight into what it is to be alive, to be a human being, what the hazards are of a fairly usual, everyday kind. We go up to Heaven and down to Hell a dozen times a day – at least I do. And the discipline of work provides an exercise bar, so that the wild, irrational motions of the soul become formal and creative. It literally keeps one from falling on one’s face.”
I consider this to be a good word as we stand at the beginning of a new year.

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