Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the patience of the devil

One of the nice things about a spiritual persuasion is its potential to point out and allow for reflection on the "devil" that is forever in the details. It's not as if any other activity -- from war to matrimony to mountain-climbing -- doesn't point out the same devil, but in spiritual life, individuals are forced to look in the bathroom mirror at the only entity they are likely to know something about. It is close to the bone and the escape routes are fewer, assuming anyone is serious about spiritual efforts.

At some point and about some topic, I think individuals want to straighten things out -- to reach a full and satisfying understanding of something. Damn near anything. Sliding by on agreement with others only reaches so far. At some juncture the question ceases to be "what do others say?" and becomes "what do I say?"

Jesus did not walk into the desert as a means of agreeing with others. A kaffeeklatsch lifestyle may be cozy, but in the far reaches of being, coziness simply cannot cut it when it comes to peace. And an unwillingness to meet and treat with the devil is to live an unfulfilled life. Somehow, the devil will have his or her due and failure to pay those dues merely puts off a confrontation that cannot be evaded. The devil is not offended by the delays that are based in hope or faith or philosophy or social intercourse.

The devil's in the details.

And the devil is patient.

1 comment:

  1. I used to work for a guy, oh, when i was a boy, who would answer questions with "don't sweat the small stuff". Working for him taught me that the only big thing was whether or not "it" was working and it was the many small things that decided that.

    I understand that there is no mystery in chopping wood or carrying water. But you have to plumb that many and immediately unapparent details to learn to do it and not kill yourself. Maybe that's not a mystery, but it begins with a lot of mistakes and the discovery that there are things you don't know.