I was finishing up my physical therapy the other morning and I looked over at the clock.  9:20!  How that could be considering I had been up since 6:00 a.m. and still hadn’t gotten on to the important things I had to do?

I lay there with an ice pack and electrodes on my left shoulder and arm and realized that taking care of myself takes time.  Of course, if I had not started on this exercise program, I would not have injured myself.   But let’s not go there.  The PT tells me I really did a great job (cough, cough) on my shoulder—not just the rotator cuff but my bicep and triceps as well.  All I know is that his gentle massage had me wincing in pain as he worked on the affected areas.

As I lay there bemoaning all the other, more important things I wanted to be doing and thinking about how much time this health improvement plan is costing me, I realized it is much the same with our spiritual life.  If we want to grow in the spiritual life it takes time and effort.  Sometimes there is pain.

The questions I ask myself, “Is it worth it?”, “Is what I gain better than what I lose?”, and “Will is help long term?” are all answered with “Yes!” But the struggle is still there.

As I ponder and pray about this, I come back to one possible answer.  It is the same answer as to why is there suffering in this world.  This is our human condition.  We want to find the quick and easy way to most things, from health to spiritual growth.  But there is no quick and easy way.  It is only by putting in the time, focusing our energy, turning ourselves over to trusted guides and putting aside our pride that we grow.

Next Sunday the season of Advent begins.  The Church, in her wisdom, gives us this special time to prepare for our Savior’s birth.  Set aside some time this week amongst all the Thanksgiving preparations to decide on how you will take care of your spiritual life this Advent.

Copyright 2013 Deanna Bartalini