We’re a little past Lent’s halfway mark but it got me thinking about midpoints. A midpoint – of a life, a career or course of study, even something as simple as a garage clean-out – can be a tricky thing. The initial enthusiasm and certainty has worn off or evaporated in the face of concrete realities. The end is now unclear or seems a long way off.
It’s when we can find ourselves in the middle of a crisis. We need to ask the question: do I give up at this point, or do I recapture my original vision (or a more realistic version of it) and see things through to the end in the best way I can?
I recently found the book When: The scientific secrets of perfect timing by Daniel Pink an interesting read. In it he talks about what he calls the ‘slump’ and ‘spark’ effect of midway points. He argues that the loss of motivation and feelings of ennui we so often encounter halfway through a thing is a normal, observable, part of life. At this point people either slump, and give up, or get re-energised by the thought that half of the hard work has already been done.
He suggests that when we realise we’ve stalled at a midway point for no other reason then simple human nature we can see it as an opportunity to get motivated, to learn from mistakes made, and commit to not repeating them, and make the changes needed to get to the end.
So I’m reminded that the purpose of these 40 days of Lent is to become a little bit better as a person through getting to know Jesus Christ a little better. And just as I reached my own temptation to just let Lent 2018 slide a bit since I didn’t get off to a great start, I found that the current Lenten talks of Bishop Greg Homeming on the subject of prayer are a great mid-point pick-me-up.
If you want to check them out on YouTube the sound quality isn’t great but the content more than makes up for it. The first two are online, here and here, and they go up each week a couple of days after he’s given it in the cathedral. You may be surprised to find you end up thinking very differently about personal prayer – and excited about giving more time to it. I know I am.
What else is going on around here? A school father and son camp – for the eldest boy last weekend at the picturesque Port Hacking, south of Sydney, which was a great success. I’m getting blinds cleaned and repaired at home, writing articles for The Catholic Weekly and other odds and ends, and thinking about what to do with this blog.
I think migrating it to a self-hosted site is probably the first step, but it’s one of those jobs that has a bunch of little barriers to it. The first being carving out the time to read up on how to do it and work on it.
I’m having dinner with two friends tomorrow, dinner with my husband and half of the parents in our eldest’s grade on Saturday night. On Monday, I’m going to see Jordan Peterson who is visiting Australia for a very short speaking tour.
I became intrigued by the man a couple of years back when he first started making headlines for defying his university’s directive to use non-gender pronouns. He’s someone whose ideas can easily be written off by critics or oversimplified by supporters who don’t take the time to understand how they fit together. He’s a clinical psychologist by profession but I think he’s also one of most interesting philosophers in public life today. Though I’m aware he’s mostly here to promote his new book I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say.