I've been reading Kathleen Norris's new book, A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer's Life: Acedia & Me, and as always, I'm both touched and challenged by her insight.
In this book she shares a great deal about her marriage, her husband's death, and the acedia she experiences in the midst of her everyday life, in the challenges of making a life in the midst of daily responsibilities and death.
Norris writes, “It's easier and far more efficient to go about our daily tasks as though we were the sun around which the earth is spinning, and devote our attention not to divine mysteries but to whatever comes along: deadlines, e-mail, rush-hour traffic. And all of this is oddly comforting.”
She continues, “While we complain about the stress, it reassures us to know we're busy -- it means we're essential. We convince ourselves that we are far too important to die, and this is how we live from one day to the next.”
So -- what, exactly is acedia?
Boredom? Ennui? Restlessness? A sense of futility?
All of the above, and then some.
And what is the remedy?
One of the nice things about Norris is that she doesn't preach; she shares her life with her readers. She doesn't provide prescriptions, she offers pieces of her experience.
And in that life and those experiences, we can see glimpses of God dealing with one of His beloved children. No one-size-fits-all remedy. Just God, being God.