Saturday, March 7, 2015

Take from me the spirit of sloth

I homeschool, I run a small business, I have a toddler.  Sloth is not something that most people would accuse me of.  It seems more like the laying on the beach, ringing a bell for a servant to wipe your brow kind of word. 

But the furry jungle animal and I do have things in common.  Look at some of the synonyms:

laziness, idleness, indolence, slothfulness, inactivity, inertia, sluggishness, shiftlessness, apathy, acedia, listlessness, lassitude, lethargy, languor, torpidity; literaryhebetude

Ok, so I had to look up hebetude.  (Its the state of being dull or lethargic, FYI)

There are days when I get up and get going and things get done around here.  There are days when I spend way too much time on the internet looking up urgent matters like how tall Geena Davis is (6ft!!) or the wikipedia entry for F. Scott Fitzgerald (did that this morning).   My kids are not neglected, the house is clean enough, but I struggle with that spirit of sloth.  Inertia is a good way to put it, just the difficulty of getting going when I would really just stay put.  

It's really a battle of the wills.   I want to do what I want to do.  Not much different than my toddler throwing a fit when I can't get the crackers to her fast enough. 

I can't say I have conquered this, or am even mildly successful.  I definitely pray this part of St. Ephrems prayer with earnestness.  

One tool that has helped me (not cured me) is to have checklists and a flexible routine.  It takes away the decision part of what to do first.  I look at the list and do what I think I can get done in the time I have.  Or, if I know I wont get something done, I start something that I can put aside when the next interruption comes.  This doesn't mean that I dont ignore the list altogether at times and watch a mind numbing sitcom.  But at least I have  a starting point when I get it together to get started.  

Routines centered around mealtimes have worked best for me.  We usually eat 3 meals a day at home.  So we have to clean up the table and kitchen after every meal so there is not a pile up for the next meal.  The kids are trained to put their dishes away and have after dinner chores, and I can usually get everything picked up that goes in the dishwasher.  I usually dont get to pots, pans and other handwash stuff till evening.  But my goal is to have the counters all clean at night so they are ready in the morning for the next round.  Also, our washer and dryer are in our kitchen, so mealtimes is when I make a shift in the laundry rotations.  I still havent figured out a routine for getting it all folded and put away in a timely manner.  

But as I duel this dragon of sloth, there is grace.  This is a prayer, a petition for strength to overcome what I cannot do on my own.  And God listens. 

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