Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An unforced pace of work

I am spending the night at the old Jesuit novitiate at Wernersville to see my spiritual director, I haven’t been up here since the beginning of the semester. Last time a note was tagged to the bulletin board noting the temperature in the pool, today there is a notice about the start of hunting season. The canopy of leaves is barer, if brighter. The moon is a bare crescent, not enough to light an after dinner walk, even on the paved paths.  Time turns.

The semester is half spent, 7 weeks finished, 7 weeks to go.  The first seven have felt relentless, as if I’m stuck on a hamster wheel, spin, spin, spinning.  I’m hoping (longing) for a return to a workload that allows for some breathing room over these next few weeks. Philosopher of science and physicist Gerald Holton suggests in his book The Scientific Imagination that ideas flourish (at least in a scientific setting) when the pace of work is unforced, rather than a frenetic rush.

I picked up Walter Bruggeman’s Sabbath as Resistance:  Saying No to the Culture of Now this weekend, sampling bits and pieces while curled up in a chair, ignoring the prep work I needed to do for class today.  It’s made me wonder not only about sabbath rhythm over a week, but also the ways in which my days breathe.  Am I on a forced march from morning until evening (as in this PhD Comic strip) or do I have time to stop and contemplate, wonder, pray, muse, think — eat lunch?

I woke before dawn, tossed on sweats and my walking shoes (hurrah, I managed to arrive with both shoes this time) and walked a mile out from the house, to watch the sunrise, to pray, to live into kairos.

Funniest moment, in the middle of Mass, the workmen repairing the cloister suddenly began hammering blocks of stone into place, as I tried to read, with a straight face, "... in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."


  1. Wishing you peace!

  2. Katherine2:00 PM

    Thank you -- just what I needed today.
    Good for you, taking that moment of respite; I've had that same hamster-wheel feeling all term.
    Will look for Bruggeman's book, and Holton's (though I'm an historian).