Five Hundred Degrees Outside, Five Hundred Words Here

Five Hundred Degrees Outside, Five Hundred Words Here September 6, 2023

Today, I know it wasn’t so hot one could fry eggs on the car, but the AC not working well made one wonder whether the case of water I left in the trunk might not be safe to drink.  It’s possible the plastic containers began to decompose during the five plus hours of work. To frame this properly for those sitting in air conditioned coolness or places that do not simulate the surface of the sun, my dog is currently consciously objecting to going out.

She’s a smart puppy.

I spent the afternoon reflecting on how to write five hundred words that reached somewhere of value when my most profound thought is, “Hurray! I’m inside,” and, I realized, I’m almost as smart as a thirteen week old dog.  My puppy isn’t sitting her staring at a computer demanding words to pop out of her paws.    After sitting around,  and still coming up with nothing, I thought maybe I needed discomfort to generate words –but decided perhaps more comfort is preferred, and put my cold feet under the covers.

Part of returning to a habit is picking a same place and time.  I can’t tell you how much I paced before sitting –which made me wonder, am I writer out of habit that I’ve just abandoned, or am I merely a writer out of practice, who keeps remembering when she was more able, and attempting to do what she once could without a warm up?  How will I know?   When will I know?


I looked at the word count and knew…when I don’t look at the word count, when I just write.

Writing for me, is like prayer, in that, when I’m really writing, or really praying, using “I” falls way.  So does time.  So does sound.  People can call me, reach out to me, and I really don’t hear or see them.   Writing is not there yet.  I thought about my recent struggles with mass.  It’s not there either.   Distraction is a perpetual issue for me, whether at mass in person, or listening to it on route to work.

Distraction –that is the issue both in my spiritual and creative life.  How do I disicipline my own soul, my own mind so that I can hear something other than my own thoughts?    My own pet project of editing Doctors of the church gives me snap shots of how people who spent decades pondering God’s love for us wrestled with thoughts that wandered the streets even as they sat in their chamber attempting to draft out great written works.   As such, part of what made these saints great, was their wilingness to walk through all the mess to get to the moments of brilliance.

Meanwhile,I’m wamdering though a morass of the mundane.   Patience is not my strong suit.   I want the words, the insight, the moment that comes from all that wandering through my own mind.   God wants our friendship, so what do I do when one of the primary means I have for discernment seems to be not working?  I assess why that is…and thee answer seems very obvious.  As of late, I’ve not gone to adoration.  I’ve made God wait on me and make it easy for me to show up. I have not sought Him out. I’ve not gone looking.  God wants me to look, and so, He lets me wrestle until I recognize, I should be looking.  His goal is for me to seek His friendship in word and deed, irrespective of how I show it.


Hey Sherry, come to adoration.  You’ll feel better.

In that moment, I remembered.

This morning, in the morning mass I listend to, the priest talk about St. Francis de Sales. The good doctor is attributed with the following quote: “Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.”  However, while I  haven’t found where that is, I have found this explanation of the spiritual reality expressed in that apocryphal quote.  In his Introduction to the Devout Life, Saint Francis de Sales writes, “ “If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be molded on His.”  

Our lives like the pythyness of the non-quote quote, but the deeper thinking is what we should really seize.   God wants us for His own, and if we let ourselves be, we will discover more of what He longs to give us, and be able to give more to others.   I made a mental note, to look up three more quotes today for my book and recognized, I’d meandered into meaning.  It took time and heat, and intentionality to get there, to see that all this still time, was to quiet my mind enough to hear God’s whisper.

And maybe after dinner and all the evening tasks, go and spend some time letting God meander through my heart exclusively in adoration.

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