From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:
floodgates making way
I sensed prepared for me.
I heard them coming
deafened by the roar
of mighty waters rolling
down upon me.
I said a prayer
prepared to die
so sure my next few breaths
would be my last.
I know not if I knelt
or stretched myself out prone
ready to receive the hand of death.
Louder came the roar
A sound so full of fear
I wished for deafness before death
anything but being made
to hear that awful sound.
The roar grew louder
so sure my drums would burst
fixed all my thought on broken ears
as cause of death
and in an instant heard played again
the thousand tapes of noisy voices
of my wasted life of listening.
And still the roar increased
till I heard screams
my own thin voice
inside my head
with shouts of
‘Kill me, then!’
‘Yes, do it now!’
‘Anything but this!’
But ‘this’ was not yet finished
my pleading was in vain
as if demonic spirits
took delight in my despair.
as quickly as begun
the roar subsided
to the pleasant sound
over smooth worn stones
of where in childhood
played for hours
from the loss of innocence
From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool:
There is always time for what is needful. This learned after long experimentation. So why do I still fight fire when I have a desk filled with work, or a house that hasn’t been cleaned in a week?
What “bad thing” will happen to me if it isn’t all accomplished in the too-short time I have allotted?
Colds or “bugs” are a form of seeking outside ourselves, convenient crutches we use when we are very weary from walking in the world.
One then has an excuse to sit down. Written a couple of days before I succumbed to a succession of mild but debilitating viruses: “What do I really want to experience in my world?
I don’t want to be hassled constantly to do more-more- more.
I need to say ‘no’ to things for a month and then some.”
On the work complexities of modern life: “I desperately need to learn how to pace myself. If ever I get ahead at work, I immediately ‘fill my plate’ with a dozen things that are sure to swamp me eventually.” Four days later, the dawn of a solution:
“I sensed today that I make things too hard. I have too much a sense of responsibility. I should let go and let God. Life lived from moment to moment ‘listening’ (to the Holy Spirit) is much more interesting. I can be much too work-oriented, so much that I become a drudge.”
Now I would add that much of my work is self-generated, but influenced by my colleagues, who are working at least as hard.
It is as though we were a group of children, backstage before a piano recital. One’s nervousness and hyperactivity influences another, and then another, and yet another. And to what end?
The dubious “achievement” of performing before an audience.
Now, proving our “worth” this way by more and more elevates work to a personal god whose demands are insatiable. And isn’t that the clue that the dynamic is ego-based?