“My child, when you come to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for testing.
Set your heart right and be steadfast,
and do not be impetuous in time of calamity.
Cling to him and do not depart..
For gold is tested in the fire..
– Sirach 2:1-2, 5a
In Eternal Echoes John O’Donohue warns against living on the surface, endlessly distracted by the next task.
“…When you choose someone or some way of life, you invest your heart. Choice becomes an invitation to commitment. When you commit you deepen presence. Though your choice narrows the range of possibility now open to you, it increases the intensity of the chosen possibility. New dimensions of the chosen path reveal themselves; a new path opens inwards to depth and outwards to new horizons. Your choice has freed your longing from dispersing itself over a whole range of surface. When we avoid [making those] choice[s] we become victims of distraction. We flit like the butterfly from one flower to the next, delightfully seduced by its perfume and colour. We remain secretly addicted to the temporary satisfaction and pleasure of immediacy.
“Kierkegaard divided the life journey into stages, and he saw that the aesthetic stage was the wanderer whose longing is magnetized on the endless array of novelties. We celebrate the surface unwilling to become acquainted with the depths where the darkness plies its slow and patient transfigurations. The colour and excitement of the surface, though delightful, are ultimately deceptive; they keep us from recognizing the habit of our repetitions and the boredom and poverty that sleep there… [When] we go below the façade of repetition and risk the danger of encounter, challenge, and responsibility. When [we] choose with discernment, integrity, and passion, [we] submit [ourselves] to the slow and unglamorous miracle of change…”