Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 8...

Happy Wednesday all! Guess where I am today? Yep, home again snowbound. With my bored children. Oh joy! And the IRONY of this being the day we talk about Chapter 8: "On Leisure: Interacting with Others,"when I secretly want to interact with *nobody,* is definitely not lost on yours truly. ;-)

#longsufferingsigh

This has been the least fun stretch of "time off" than I can remember in a long time. :0 And one would think that having a snow day would mean that my children would sleep in. One would think. Apparently the difference between them being half unconscious and in tears under their covers at the thought of waking up, and bounding out of their rooms wide eyed and bushy tailed, is 20 minutes.

😡

But here I am, taking a quick break to write in with my thoughts on Chapter 8. Once again, the subject of the chapter spoke quite directly to things happening in my own little world. Our author tells us that to St. Francis, our leisure time has as its focus:

"...more to do with the persons involved than with any particular activity."

I remember this from the eating chapter as well. It's not just about our food. It's about the people we're sharing it with.

"When we recreate, we will ask Our Lord for the grace to say and do only what contributes to his glory."

Immediately, my mind strayed over to my job, where I've been struggling for these many months.  In the moments between classes, when I have a few downtime interactions with students and my colleagues, have I always been keeping Our Lord in mind and responding only in ways that will contribute to his glory? Well, on the whole, I don't do badly in this regard. But 100% of the time? Nope. That's an easy answer. A definite Nope.

St. Francis emphasizes that it's important to take time for recreation, to relax our mind and body:

"These activities contribute to our overall well-being and, as such, should be considered valuable means for helping us become who we are."

I got this covered. Knitting, dancing, reading, writing, scentful research. The list goes on and on. ;-)

One interesting thing that he notes is this:

"All that is needed is the common prudence that gives due order, time, place and measure to all things...If we spend too much time on them, they are no longer amusements for tasks in which neither mind nor body is refreshed but rather stupefied. and worn out...If the stakes played for are too high, the players' emotions get out of control."

This definitely touched a chord with me. My personality is one that has a difficult time focusing on more than one thing at a time. I've found that very challenging about having children - they lack awareness of others around them and are constantly interrupting, thus it's difficult for me to think about the multiple things going on all at the same time. I notice that when I start to focus on something, I become engrossed. Then it's difficult for me to change my focus over to something else, and I can linger on things too long. Definitely something to ponder on how I can improve.

We need to take into account our *interactivity*.  These can be everyday encounters, but they are necessary for our virtue in our state in life. Apparently, the introverted St. Francis created a rule for himself that he should never avoid meeting or socializing with other people.

😱

Indeed. This is a tough one for us introverts. And how should we go about this?

"Let us not come to conversation with a sad and disagreeable countenance, but rather with a pleasant and affable one."

Oh boysies. 😂 When you're feeling out of your element, it's easy to approach social interactions with a guarded and disagreeable countenance. But when we bring a pleasant disposition, that bodes well for the interaction that follows. I need to continue to build myself up in this way.

There is a lovely set aside section on "True Friendship," and our author notes:

"Having good friends is necessary...so that we can 'encourage, assist, and lead one another to perform good deeds.'"

This made me think of my own precious posse of friends. Cristina, Allison, and Sam. *heart*

This chapter gave me a lot to think about. At the start of the semester, I feel like I was doing better with seeking out pleasant everyday social encounters and smiling at people more. Now, the semester has ground me down a bit and I'm avoiding people again. :0 But I'm going to work on it!

What did you think of Chapter 8, all? Next week we're talking about the Examen, and reviewing our daily progress! Clearly, I need this.

😇

4 comments:

  1. Initially I was surprised that leisure chapter was focused about conversation with others. However on further reflection it made more sense to me since leisure activities often involve others.

    I was struck by the rule that St. Francis had of never avoiding meeting or socializing with other people. I have avoided events in the past because it would involve socializing with others and making small talk. Here's hoping that next time a similar opportunity presents itself I will remember and apply the advice of St. Francis from this chapter.

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    1. Melanie,

      Solidarity, girl. *virtual fist bump* I'm the exact same way. And woe to when I see a colleague getting out of their car beside me in the parking lot in the mornings! So much woe! :0 I have been known to be suddenly "busy", sending a text message or checking through my bag, so that I'm not ready at the same time as them, therefore not necessitating a full 5 minutes of small talk as we walk over to and into the library. I am BAD. :0 When I was happier back at the beginning of the semester, I was not avoiding people. I was using those opportunities as a time to spread love and smiles, and like I just mentioned -> happier. Avoiding makes me curmudgeonly. Yet I fall into that trap so often. We press on!

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  2. I folded down the page that included this: "St. Francis de Sales bases his advice about conversations on the sound conviction that speech reveals something about the speaker, for 'our words are a true indication of the state of our souls'" Personally, I struggle with making negative comments about people - what that reveals about me is not so pretty...insecurity, fear of rejection, pride...the list goes on! Something that helps me curb this tendency is asking Jesus to make me aware of how I can serve another person at a social occasion...whether with a comforting word, a joke to put someone at ease, arms to hold a baby so a weary mother can go get herself something to eat, etc. As far as the introversion...ugh, I am a card-carrying member! Maybe a place for me to start is getting in line each Sunday after mass to greet our pastor...for no other reason than I don't want to scramble at small talk, I dodge out the side door each Sunday rather than say hello to our priest. Eee-gads!

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    1. Hi Robin! I totally understand. I avoid casual acquaintances (people I genuinely like!) like they are going to tackle me upon getting close. It's really quite absurd. I really have to push myself to do otherwise.

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