An easy yoke


“Jesus said:
‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.’ ” (Mt 11: 28-30)

As long as I can remember, I’ve been a goal oriented person. My mother tells me that even as a baby, I was wakeful when many other babies slept and displayed a kind of intensity of watchfulness. She was not sure what to do with a baby like that, so apparently took me around with her and chatted with me while she chopped carrots, cooked dinner, or did whatever household chores. As a small child, I enjoyed a wide range of pretend/ fantasy play as all children do , but one of my favorite pretend games was to play “work,” which mostly involved sitting at a desk, reading books, and shuffling around some papers. I suppose it was inevitable that I’d become an academic!

It’s a great gift to find work that is often as fulfilling as play. This week I’ve been working on writing a book on Plato and the imagination; re-reading one of my favorite novels (Willa Cather’s My Antonia); and reading through Laudato Si— as well as finding time for some real “play”: running , watching the Red Sox, and playing Texas Hold ’em with my husband, and teen/ adult children. (I always lose.)

One challenge of loving so many different kinds of activities is learning how to discern what to choose, given realistic human limits of time and energy. I care about spending time with family and friends. I care about my work. I also have a real need to carve out space for contemplative prayer and silence by myself for a good chunk of the day. Here, Jesus’ words are helpful to me: lean on me, and find rest for yourselves. Contemplation comes first, and all the rest can follow. When I surrender to God’s presence as the center of all, God’s action in my life also becomes primary. Increasingly, it’s less about what I accomplish and more about trusting that God will accomplish something good in me, something good with my life, as God wants to do with all of our lives. Lean on the Lord. Let go and let God.

2 thoughts on “An easy yoke

  1. Your method is an ideal I usually can’t ever attain. Too many demands won’t let me alone when I try to contemplate. I have to get a handle on them first, then I can focus. In particular, I can’t go on a week long retreat because when I get back it takes weeks to get a handle on what needs to be done.

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    1. Faith, when I finally started doing 8 day retreats I discovered the world did not fall apart without me, and that turns out to be a pretty freeing thing!

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