Distance makes the heart grow…distant

I’ve begun lately to feel a bit murky, like the water in the fish bowl a little too dirty to support healthy fish. There is something rather insidious that goes on in our deep down parts. It’s a kind of conspiracy that sets itself up to deny what we most need when we most need it. The old saying that distance makes the heart grow fonder makes sense in the youthful infatuations of long distance love. In matters of the soul however, distance mostly gives birth to more distance.

Since graduating last year with an MA in Spiritual Formation my prayer has been generally rich and full of gooey spiritual goodness. But the past few weeks have been excessively busy – death to the spiritual life, and I’ve fallen victim to the demands of self-imposed urgency. I choose to get to work just a little earlier to get more things accomplished. I cram in just one more phone call, send one more email, tweak the calendar a tiny bit more, and then look back to find that the wake of my boat moving through sacred waters is no longer distinguishable. I’ve inadvertently floated out to sea because I haven’t been paying attention to my surroundings. I’m untethered and afloat somewhere with no land in sight.

This is what happens when we pay more attention to the deck chairs than the proximity of the water. We’re happily lounging but in a context rather hostile to doing so long term!

If I could give one piece of advice, mostly to myself, but to others who also long for depth, breadth, quality and meaning in their prayer it would be this: pray. That’s it. I can offer nothing more profound than that. Allow nothing to steal what rightfully belongs to the soul’s longing for union with God.

Distance breeds distance, which in turn breeds the greatest conspiracy against the spiritual life: apathy. I don’t care to write anything more…

I’m off to pray.

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