Today’s Bible reading
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. — Ephesians 2:10
More thoughts for meditation
But so many people find themselves in the situation of enclosure, in a marriage or a career, with the fundamental difference that by their refusal to accept it it has become a trap from which they long to escape, perhaps by actually running away, perhaps by resorting to the daydreaming which begins with that insidious little phrase “if only…” Family life which is boring, a marriage which has grown stale, an office job which has become deadening are only too familiar. Our difficulty lies in the way in which we fail to meet those demands with anything more than the mere grudging minimum which will never allow them to become creative.
That limitation can lead to creativity is something which any good artist knows and it is as fundamental to the artistic understanding as it is to the monastic. It is no less true when practiced in the less obviously rewarding situations of daily life. While we can see that art consists in limitation, and that artists must submit themselves to the necessities imposed upon them by paint and canvas, by words or notes or stones, it really is very hard indeed to see how we can apply this principle to the confused and humdrum elements which go to makeup modern living: the mechanical repetitiveness on the shop floor, the relentless demands of minding young children, the frustrations involved in being part of some huge administrative machine. Clearly this means accepting the monotonous and making it work for us, not against us. How easy it is to say that! How easy to hear that as yet one more piece of unhelpful moralizing which simply deepens our feelings of frustration and anger! Yet the way in which such limitation can bring both freedom and fullness is the heartfelt paradox of the Benedictine understanding of stability.
For stability says there must be no evasion; instead attend to the real , to the real necessity however uncomfortable that might be. Stability brings us from a feeling of alienation, perhaps from the escape into fantasy and daydreaming, into the state of reality. It will not allow us to evade the inner truth of whatever it is that we have to do, however dreary and boring and apparently unfruitful that may seem. When we have discovered that a necessity is really necessary, that it is unalterable and we can do nothing to avert or change it, then our freedom consists in the acceptance of the inevitable as the medium of our creativity.’
Suggestion for action
Consider how you can be creative in your monotony today. Whether it’s your morning commute , chore, task or conversation. Rather than looking at the restrictions (i.e. — you have to go to work so you have to get in your car) as prohibitive consider them to be opportunities. Mainly, be present to your monotony, don’t avoid it. Be present enough for God to do something new with the usual.