Life as Spiritual Exercise

Sunday night my priest was talking about how life itself is spiritual exercise. I believe the Greek word is “askesis.”  It’s the idea that we are encountering much of what we need to practice for our transformation or sanctification just by living in the world. And a trip to the MVA (“Motor Vehicle Administration” for those of you in other states with other designations for your government-run torture chambers) is the perfect opportunity to practice patience.

Why do you think they have an armed policeman behind a desk there? It’s definitely related to the concept of “going postal,” a phenomenon that arises when there is one line too many, one officious employee too many (oops, it’s break time; I mean one too few), and one piece of identification that you are lacking to transact your business (but that the website didn’t really mention very clearly).

If you truly mean it that you want to become a patient person, just say a little prayer as you head out to the MVA and step into the patience-production-lab. There is no way to survive without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It’s just not possible.

While you wait in line you will acquire the gift of patience — or be handcuffed by the policeman just waiting for the chance to throw you in the pile of people who have threatened violence in the last four minutes.

And when I go there I am struck by the fact that I speak English and have a flexible schedule. What must this be like for the people for whom English (and triplicate forms) are a second language and who actually get their pay docked (or lose their jobs) if they are not at work on time?

The only consolation for a trip to the MVA is the fact that the truck dispensing tacos and pupusas produces what is arguably the best meal in town (and it’s under $5).

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~ by Cary on July 22, 2008.

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