I have been trying to establish a regular pattern of walking for exercise, and last week only managed to do a third of what I would have liked and started to get discouraged. I have a perfectionistic personality–which I’ve found harder and harder to live with as I’ve gotten older. 🙂 But then I remembered a story that Fr. Tim Gallagher shared during a series of talks he gave at our parish. I’m not sure if I’ll remember all the details, but I do remember the point. From what I remember, the story was of a priest who for medical reasons needed to start exercising more regularly. But he wasn’t a lover of exercise. He would get up, get dressed, drive to the gym, but then turn around and go home. The next morning he would get up, get dressed, drive to the gym, turn around and go home–without ever exercising. Fr. Tim’s point was how good it was that he at least got up, got dressed and drove to the gym. That was an accomplishment! A step in the right direction. So I applied that to my situation last week–at least I walked once that week! That’s better than nothing. As long as I keep trying . . . A good principle for our spiritual lives as well.
Reminds me of something from Therese. She uses the analogy of a little child trying to climb the stairs. She keeps trying to lift her foot to go up the stairs, but is too little to make it. “At the top of those stairs, he [Jesus] is looking at you lovingly. Soon conquered by your vain efforts, he will come down himself, and taking you in his arms, will carry you forever into His kingdom where you will not leave him again. But if you stop lifting your little foot, he will leave you on earth for a long time.” As long as we keep trying . . . or driving to the gym . . . or trying to be kind . . . or deciding to pray even though it’s very dry and distracted.