A while ago I was listening to The Confessions of St. Augustine in my car. The confessions are always a good thing to go back to now and again. I'm often amazed by the depth of Augustine's devotion to God as well as by his theological insight. This time I was struck by this passage:
"Yet I sinned, O Lord my God, ruler and creator of all natural things, but of sins only the ruler. I sinned, O Lord my God, by going against the commands of my parents and of those teachers.... I was disobedient not out of a desire for better things, but out of love for play. I loved to win proud victories in our contests, and to have my ears tickled by false stories, so that they would itch all the more intensely for them, with the same kind of curiosity glittering more and more in my eyes for shows, the games of grown up men.... Lord in your mercy look down upon these things and deliver those of us who now call upon you. Deliver also those who do not yet call upon you, so that they may call upon you and you may deliver them." Confessions bk. 1, ch. 10. John Ryan, tr.
I was struck by Augustine's observation that he was distracted from his studies as a child not by better things as such but by the things he enjoyed at the time. The Confessions were written in his early to mid-forties. I just remember hearing that passage and thinking, "That's me." Most kids are distracted from study by play, but for whatever reason I was surprised to see how much I'm distracted by it as an adult and even more by the "false stories" that I devote so much time to on t.v. or in movies, or, for that matter, in books. I have friends who don't read fiction precisely because they don't care to immerse themselves in things that aren't true. Obviously they miss out on a lot, but probably much less than I'm inclined to argue for.
In other news, I think my toe is getting better. It was definitely better when I went back to the doctor's office on the 19th, and it held up well to c. 5 miles of corn maze walking on the 20th. It doesn't look much better now and it's still sore, so we'll see. We closed our softball season on the 21st with a resounding, and probably fitting, loss. We had fun and hopefully we'll be better in the spring. Last night I got to go see The Producers with my friend Dianne. We had a good time and it was definitely funnier as a live production than I remember the Mostel/Wilder movie version being. I also took yesterday off to do some personal reflection and rejuvenation. I had a good time walking around the lake at the Independence Grove forest preserve in Libertyville. That yielded some good prayer time, some exercise and the following haiku:
Geese land on the lake.
Wings outstretched they fall with grace
Beneath cloudy skies.
This world's grey curtain
Pulls back to show green shores as
A swift sun rises.
I love watching geese and ducks drop toward a lake. There's an amazing grace about the way they bend their wings down to just drop out of the sky toward the water. This time I saw a few who looked kind of wobbly as they headed in for the landing like they were hitting unexpected air turbulence or were jockeying for position with the other geese. It was fun to watch. I also noticed that if you look at them from the right angle, geese look like two legged, tailless brontosauri. It was a good day.
Verse of the day:
"The sluggard says, 'There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!'" Prov. 26:13 (ESV)
"Of course. I am also a traditionally built lady, though not so traditionally built as you by a long way." Mma Makutsi to Mma Ramotswe in Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith