Sentinel

The task of wisdom is to prompt the intelligence to strict watchfulness, constancy, and spiritual contemplation.
-St. Hesychios

My back hurts thinking of standing at the door and watching. The pain resides in my lower back and climbs up my spine to the upper back. My shoulders round forward, protective. I want to roll forward, stretch that spine, fall to the floor, take a nap.

When we stand, though, and train ourselves to watch, to patrol, to be vigilant, do we grow stronger? Do we, at some point, look at the clock and wonder how we lasted so long? Do my legs, my core and spine grow strong, engaged, working almost without effort?

I don’t know. I hope so. It feels as though I always quit when my back begins to throb from the constant work this requires. I begin to wonder when the fatigue turns to pain if this job is really meant for me. Perhaps there is another way, I think. Perhaps this is not at all necessary. I bargain with myself. I’m a good person. I’m mostly all right. Everyone slips from time to time.

It’s in those bargaining moments that the return to prayer is vital. I want to push through the saccharine sweet-talk of the bargaining, and return to the steady call of prayer, to recommit to standing watch again.

This is true sweetness.

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