Do not grow weary in well-doing

It stinks to be hacked. I’ve just spent five hours on a Sunday changing all of my passwords everywhere I’ve ever gone on the web, making use of some Norton Security features I’ve never used, etc. I’m not done yet. It will likely take me DAYS to get this done, and I’m sure I’ll miss some.

The event that precipitated all of this tightening of my web security was just the latest in a series of events (most of which did NOT happen to me online, but in the real world) that have removed any doubt in my mind that there is real evil in the world.

According to Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, when one experiences as many setbacks and pitfalls as I have (something he calls “resistance”) it means one is on the verge of a major creative breakthrough. He points out that such resistance only happens when one is actually doing her creative work as she should; that if one is in the throes of procrastination, avoidance, slacking, or in some other way NOT doing her creative work, she will get a free pass and experience no resistance at all.

I have been on a creative roll, lately, making major inroads on my own personal artwork. BOOM! BAM! KABLAM! Resistance! A permanent falling out with my father and sister, a beloved dog killed by my veterinarian through neglect and incompetence, a broken leg that hijacked five months of my life and stalled my dissertation for another year, another beloved dog dead suddenly and unexpectedly, and a failed but sophisticated phishing attempt that stole an entire day of my life that I had planned to spend painting, and will likely continue to steal my time for the rest of this short week. And those are just the few events I’m willing to talk about. There’s been so much more going on that I’m not willing to talk about.

I am a rational, highly educated, intelligent woman. I am also a Christian (raised United Methodist, now Roman Catholic, practicing Zen through both). While I am devout in my Christian faith I gave up believing in angels and demons a long time ago. However, the events of the last four years (four of which I’ve mentioned here) have forced me to face the fact that there are forces at work in my life–good and evil–beyond my control which I have nothing to do with. There have been many days this year I’ve felt like Job: the object of a cosmic bet, powerless to do anything but just keep on trucking, doing the best I can, believing that the greater the hardship the closer I am to successfully achieving my personal goals.

In the movie The Usual Suspects, the character played by Kevin Spacey said, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing everyone he didn’t exist.”

I read or heard this somewhere:

1st person: “I don’t believe in the devil.”
2nd: “Well, you should, because he believes in you.”

I read a story about Martin Luther once, where he was awakened from a dead sleep (it might have been a dream) by the creaking of a rocking chair in his room. When he looked over at the chair he saw the devil sitting in it and said, “Oh, it’s just you,” and rolled back over and went back to sleep.”

I think I’ll re-read The Screwtape Letters again.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that with all of this trouble coming at me precisely at moments where I’m on the threshold of significant breakthroughs, I can’t really afford to ignore the obvious anymore. If I want a trouble-free life I should find some kind of shallow, meaningless, self-serving work that makes me mountains of easy money. But as long as I’m in a profession that provides me with opportunities to positively impact great kids, and as long as I’m striving to use the talents God gave me to great purpose, I should just expect to see the devil and his minions trying to sabotage all of my efforts.

The trick is to remain vigilant, diligent, and to not grow weary in well-doing.

On that note, I’m going to bed and will start over again tomorrow.

Life is good and I am grateful.

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