Been rereading this journal. Surprised at how much is about spiritual growth, when that is actually so little of my life. There is so much that’s prosaic, like balancing bank accounts or chopping vegetables. And so much that is interesting and totally secular.
Only last night I was reading At Home by Bill Bryson. He said that only five Celtic words remain in the British language, so I at once looked them up on my iPad. (Thank you, Steve Jobs!) This led to a list of the five or so Cornish words remaining, one of which is penguin. How on earth did the Cornish ever see a penguin and why was it useful enough to have been retained?
Noticed, as often, tension in bed at night. Finally thought to ask myself why this pattern. It has been a major contribution to lifelong insomnia. So what do I do every night, but review the day, as taught as a child, with emphasis on where I have failed and what I should do better. Of course, one can always have done better. It takes me back to the “miserable sinner” teaching of childhood.
I remember confirmation preparation and its emphasis on sin, our daily chant of “we are miserable sinners and there is no health in us”. My terror in chapel at school when we were told there would be another virgin birth – and my fervent prayer, “Don’t let it be me. How would I tell my mother?”
So why not joyful prayer? I assesses the day through grateful eyes, but not the powerless gratitude of the impotent. Just joyful recognition of every kind gesture, thoughtful word, both mine and from other. And instead of planning tomorrow from the stance of today’s failure, approached it with the attitude of how can I expand the good and build on the positive. All tension dissipated and warmth filled my soul.