Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Drawn by Pleasure

The weather in Missouri has been kind. No, more than kind. For February, it has been positively benevolent. And every day I tell myself that I need to get out there and work with Honor, or at least trim his hooves and Journey's. But at day's end, I find I have never quite made the trek from house to barn. Being a responsible person at heart, each time this happens, I feel just a little more pressure and a bit more worry, not to mention increased guilt over my procrastination.

As usually happens in such cases, the balance of concern finally outweighed other activities, and this week I headed out into a brilliant 60-degree February afternoon to get the chore done. Taking Journey first, who stands like a statue while I trim and rasp, I began the long-deferred job. Birds filled the air with song, the sun warmed my back, and the quiet calm with which she handed me each foot in turn soon elevated the experience into the realm of pleasure. I had been missing out on this?! Occupied with the kitchen remodel and subsequent housecleaning coupled with the tyranny of life in general, I'd lost touch with how much I love being out there with these big animals.

That's why I have horses in the first place. It's not like I need more work to do or more responsibilities. Horses bring me pleasure. They really do. But all too often something else creeps in--the "oughts and shoulds" of life, and soon, I'm avoiding, dreading, and finally doing under duress what came into being as a result of a dream. I suspect that I am not the only one who can become driven by duty rather than drawn by pleasure.

C.S. Lewis talks about this phenomenon in his book An Experiment in Criticism.Though he is referring specifically to why and how people read, I find that the principle applies to many other aspects of life. We begin something for the pleasure it gives us, and we love it. But somehow along the way, a sense of duty creeps in. We forget the joy we once felt and know only the obligation we now labor under.

This can happen in relationships, too. God, friends, family, spouse--if we allow it, familiarity and the "every-day-ness" of life can drain these vital connections to the point where they slide into obligation. What began as pure pleasure erodes into a nagging guilt, prodding us to do what once we longed after, and somewhere along the way, we become human doings instead of human beings.

So I'm pondering that this morning, (which promises to be another gorgeous day), and thinking that I will turn down the voice of duty and focus on the joys set before me--God, people, writing, horses, house, and the great outdoors. In short, the job I have given myself today is to look beyond duty and re-discover pleasure.


  1. What an incredible post Mother Dear. And it so resonates with me as, with a new baby and short on sleep, I strive to deeply enjoy each interaction with my loved ones.

  2. Another spot on post, dear sister. You have a way of putting into words the things that I struggle with as well. You have a real gift and I applaud you once again :} You also inspire us procrastinatiors!!! Endless thanks dear......