As anyone who has a house to take care of knows, there are some chores that you just dread each year. I had to begin one of those yesterday, stacking cord wood. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my wood stove, there is nothing better than sitting in my den on a cold, snowy winter day, with the warmth from the fire soaking into me. But I hate stacking it, moving one wheelbarrow load at a time from one side of the house to the other. However, it needs to be done, or else I have to trek it through the ice and snow whenever I need it.
Three things occurred to me while doing this dirty deed yesterday. One kind of led to the other. First, as muscles I don’t normally use began to ache, I compared this to the spiritual life. When we don’t exercise our muscles they get soft and we know they are going to hurt when we are done. This causes us to not want to exercise, to get out there and move that wood. That’s how I felt yesterday, I was dreading it all day. Once the muscles loosened as they warmed up, it was easier.
It is the same when we don’t exercise our spiritual muscles. They become soft and we know they are going to hurt when we use them, so we avoid using them. Some of us, like me, didn’t use them for a long time, and it took awhile for them to loosen and there was, and still is, both stiffness and aching in them. But each day it gets easier and easier to use them. When we make our spiritual muscles stronger we are better able to resist temptation. It is harder for the Evil One to lead us into sin. When I fell away from the church, I never used these muscles and on the rare occasions I thought about using them, I knew they would hurt so I avoided it. It was very easy for me to succumb to temptation and therefore to sin. If only I had exercised…
The second thing I thought about was like bringing the wood from one side of the house to the other, the only way it is going to get done is by picking up each piece, putting it in the wheelbarrow, walking to the other side of the house and stacking it. In other words, you need to pick up that first log, you have to take that first step. It is the same with our spiritual journey, it starts with taking that first step. In my case it was falling off a truck that began me thinking about God, if He was real, what happens after we die, do we really have a guardian angel who watches over us, etc. The first step was to begin asking God all of these questions and finding the answers. I needed to take this first step to begin the journey.
The third thing I thought of was how interesting it was that as I was working I was actually thinking about these things. I have noticed as I travel along the road of my spiritual life, I spend more time thinking about God, his Word, what He has giving me and what I can do for Him. I won’t say I spend 100% of my time thinking about Him, but certainly a lot of it. I find myself asking the question “What would Jesus do?” more and more.
I have come a long way in my journey, but I also know I have a long way to go. But, like when I sit in front of the wood stove I know my effort was worth it, so it will be at the end of my spiritual journey.
Speaking of which, time to go stack some more wood.
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Linking up today with: Rita at Catholic Review