Inertia

An object at rest will remain at rest until an outside force acts upon it.
A lazy bum will remain lazy unless something makes him change.

Long before any physics class, I understood Newton’s First Law of Motion. It was at work in the fingers that futilely tried to resist it by hitting a snooze button on my alarm clock every morning. It was in the the pockets of my gym shorts every day we had to do laps. It was the ink in every deduction off every paper I turned in late due to sheer procrastination. It was the Deadly Sin called Sloth. Newton’s First Law also says bodies at motion remain in motion. I’ll have to take his word for it; I’ve never been one to move.

I spoke recently of being ill beyond the confines of physical health. We’re all sick, of course, the kind of sickness Jesus claimed to have come to cure. Our sin weighs us down whether we acknowledge it or not. And the wages of sin is death, regardless of which sin. It’s inaccurate to call any sin more deadly than another.

The thing is, they’re all tied together. Pride goeth before a great many things that can be considered falling. It tells us that we deserve to be catered to, that we deserve the best of everything, that our happiness is the ultimate goal, that in fact pursuing happiness directly will result in achieving it.

And so we eat more than we should, and we are gluttons.
And so we become lethargic through our gluttony, and become slothful.
And so we become bored in our slothfulness, and our minds wander.
They wander to women, and we are lustful.
They wander to riches, and we are greedy.
They wander to wrongs, and we are hateful.
If we are not too slothful, we act out in wrath; else we kill our brothers in our minds.
Sometimes we even hate ourselves. This too is pride.

I have been at rest for far too long, and that is really all it comes down to. Without external forces to put me in motion, I have grown still, and in that stillness I have wallowed, and bid darkness come to me. They say with great power comes great responsibility — and by “they,” I mean Uncle Ben and Jesus (Luke 12:48).

For all its flaws (and they are manifold), Spider-Man 3 did one thing well: it showed how quickly one can be polluted, and how dangerous that pollution can be when it happens in one who’s gifted. I can’t fly or leap over buildings, but my imagination is incredibly potent. It’s been my gift, but lately I’ve allowed it to be my curse. If idle hands are the devil’s playthings, an idle imagination is the devil himself. You know the expression “things you can’t unsee?” When something is crafted by the mind’s eye, its capacity to stay and scar is multiplied to the nth degree. The things I most wish I could have never seen are things that I myself dreamed up.

This terrifying degradation is most tragic because it’s entirely preventable. Happily, it’s also reversible. The magnitude of the evil I’ve imagined points clearly to the magnitude of good I’m capable of imagining. The stories unfit for others’ eyes promise different stories, fit for all. Images, now burned, speak of uplifting artistry as yet untapped.

Inactivity has led me to the depths of darkness.
Activity, then, is the path I’ll take to the heights of light.

At least, that’s the plan (well, the plan comes in my next post). But the thing is, as of this moment, I’m still a body at rest, fighting against inertia. Whatever I propose to change all that won’t happen absent the outside force acting upon me. If there’s ever been such a thing as a “self-starter,” I’m certainly not it.

Prayer is first, for prayer seeks the First Mover to move me, the force that overcame the ultimate inertia and forced nonexistence to become existence. But short of saying “prayer is insufficient of itself,” I’d love more…direct assistance. The activity I plan to engage in to bring myself back to life will be much easier (and, more importantly — for this isn’t about ease — much more beneficial) if it is a social endeavor. Expect something less vague in the days to come.

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