Eventually, they tell me, the emotions will fall in line with the will. That is, if you decide to “go forth and do” a thing when you don’t feel like it, somewhere along the line you’ll eventually start feeling like it after all. The emotions are trainable. The soft underbelly of human nature will get accustomed to getting up early, to being drooled upon, to staying out at a dull party, to having guests stay a day or two too long.
So they tell me.
In the meantime, I received advice from a priest to spend just five minutes a day taking mental tally of how many things about my life are really good right now. Don’t necessarily do it first thing in the morning, either, he said. Do it at midday, or in the evening, or whenever that particular moment is when you feel like chipping off your fingernails with a screwdriver. In taking stock of God’s blessings, we’re reminded of His presence in our life. After all, health, children, prosperity, and employment are the kinds of things we don’t get through our tiny effort alone. Once I’m that far into the thought process, I usually find myself realizing that the fingernails and screwdrivers are also blessings and I’ll be darned if I don’t suddenly discover I’m praying.
But even that small advice seems to require a huge amount of discipline. I probably wouldn’t have spent the five minutes today, except I was thinking about the advice because I wanted to use it in this post. It’s so much easier to just go to sleep (my house is so clean when I’m asleep) or take a walk (my children are so quiet when I’m not around them) or eat a snack (my pajamas are very slimming). Where does the initial discipline come from? What gets you out of the rut in the first place? It can’t be the regular sort of effort. I’ve put cars in the mud before, and I know very well that ordinary effort got them in there. It takes extraordinary effort to get them out.
This morning, my husband attempted to jump start me. He said, “Look around at the good people you know. See their lives, their habits, their happiness. Think to yourself, I want to be like them. I want what they have. And imitate. Perfection is a process, and not an event.”
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Joseph-and-Jennifer-Mazzara-e1313150981219.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Joseph and Jennifer Mazzara are a young, married Catholic couple. Meeting at Christendom College, they wed soon after graduating in 2008. God has blessed them with two sons! Jennifer now raises them, teaches piano and runs the local chapel’s RCIA program. Joseph joined the Marines. Their websites are The Three B’s, Midnight Radio.[/author_info] [/author]