Friday, December 14, 2007


Papers are over for the semester. If I can try to get away with calling the past few weeks of solid-reading-and-writing part of Advent preparation, cleaning my academic tasks off my schedule in preparation to celebrate Christ’s birth, then I am finally moving on to the next phase of preparation. My paper was turned in and presented on by noon, and since then I’ve cleaned my house, gone grocery shopping, made cookies, written a long-overdue letter to an old friend, returned library books, sold textbooks, and an fitting in my first blog entry in weeks before heading to prepare for a poetry-reading event at my cottage tonight.

But yesterday I was given a reminder that my scurrying around is not necessarily preparing my spirit to celebrate Christ’s coming.

I essentially never get sick, but there have been many times that my body starts attacking me when I am not taking care of my spirit. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. The symptoms are always the same: I get terribly disturbed about something, a headache starts coming on, the headache turns into throbbing agony followed sometimes by vomiting, and in a couple hours I am fine again. It never relates to anything I’ve eaten (I often haven’t eaten); it never involves stomach pain; it never involves a fever. My body just occasionally lets me know that I need to take care of something inside.

Normally I know what that thing is. The last time it happened, a dear friend had just moved away, and I have never been good at goodbyes. But it happened yesterday, right in the narrow window of time I had scheduled myself to be finishing my last paper. Was it the stress of the end of the semester? Was it some other issue I’ve been ignoring as I’ve been wrapping all my mental energy into papers? I don’t know, and that bothers me.

So without anymore papers between me and Christmas, I pray I become more attentive to the need to prepare my spirit for his coming. It is easy (and sometimes even fun, if your name is “Industrious”) to get wrapped up in tasks that feel significant, but we must be reminded not to let the unseen things slip. Yesterday was my reminder.

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