on hard work

I guess that today is a thinking kind of day… been reflecting on the HARD WORK of many things, and so, these things are popping into mind.

1. an old blog post that I wrote back in 2010 (when I was but a 20-year-old visionary):

I decided today (during coffee with a friend) that I tentatively believe that everything that is good for you is hard work. Think about it – eating healthy, reading the Bible, loving those who aren’t very loveable, exercise, waking up early, being there for people. I’m rather wary of things that are spoon-fed, you know?

2. this Dostoyevsky quote, shown to me by my dear friend Sarah H (which she chalked up on her super-cool new chalkboard wall because she’s just that hip):

Never be frightened at your own faint-heartedness in attaining love. Don’t be frightened overmuch even at your evil actions. I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labour and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science.

3. this little passage, from Henri Nouwen’s final journal which I read over a 3-day span two weeks ago:

… I have come to discover that friendship is a real discipline. Nothing can be taken for granted, nothing happens automatically, nothing comes without concentrated effort. Friendship requires trust, patience, attentiveness, courage, repentance, forgiveness, celebration and most of all faithfulness. […] whatever I will ‘feel,’ it is important that I keep making inner choices of faithfulness. In this respect, my struggle with prayer is not so different from my struggle with friendship. Both prayer and friendship need purification. They need to become less dependent on fleeting emotions and more rooted in lasting commitments.

4. and finally, this, from some more course reading by Robert Louis Wilken:

… Augustine wishes to say that the knowledge acquired by faith is not primarily a matter of gaining information. The acquiring of religious knowledge is akin to learning a skill. It involves practices, attitudes, and dispositions and has to do with ordering one’s loves. This kind of knowledge, the knowledge one lives by, is gained gradually over time. Just as one does not learn to play the piano in a day, so one does not learn to love God in an exuberant moment of delight. If joy does not find words, if it does not exercise the affections and stir the will, if it is not confirmed by actions, it will be as fleeting as the last light out of the black west. The knowledge of God sinks into the mind and heart slowly and hence requires apprenticeship. That is why, says Augustine, we must become ‘servants of wise men.’

… and being sometimes just plain overwhelmed that I am but another terribly sin-blighted wanderer, trying [and mostly failing to try] to show other wanderers the same love of the One who loves us without conditions. and being amazed by grace.

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