I enjoy working on a MAC laptop; it comes with a few features that sometimes I notice and sometimes not. When the machine "sleeps or rests" for a while it has an automatic scroll feature with vocabulary words slowly appearing, along with the words' definitions, then the words and definitions melt into the nowhere of computerland.
So as I completed a handwritten project this afternoon at my desk, I turned back to the computer screen and found the word above and its definition - desultory - resting on my screen, seemingly daring me to read it, absorb it, understand its definition.
Some of you may be familiar with the word - it didn't pop right up in my mind as user-friendly for me........................ here's what "The American Heritage Dictionary" has to say about
DESULTORY - adjective
1. Without purpose or intent; aimless
2. Occurring haphazardly, random
DESULTORILY - adverb
DESULTORILY - adverb
I'm glad that I know this word now and, no doubt, I'll read it sooner than expected in a novel, in a newspaper column, in a magazine article and think that I've been reading it for years but just as the computer words fade in and then fade out on the screen, so apparently has this word left little impression on my mind up to this point.
I must admit that the word feels uncomfortably negative to me as a way of being. I would'nt be particularly happy to think my life was based upon desultory decision making, desultory worship, desultory thanksgivings. That is not to say that I believe all life can be lived in a straight line, nor that random events don't ever occur - I believe that random events do occur. However, I don't worship a micro-managing god that predicts when I'll pick up my toothbrush in the a.m. or when I'll take my vitamins or even if or when I'll slip on a bar of soap in my shower. Again, I believe that random events occur. Some of those random events are just that - random.
Reading my blog with any regularity or even in the past few days, you may see a pattern to my tenets in that I enjoy the benefits of planning for outcomes that truly do come under my own power to direct. I ask for God's help and guidance in my planning but "we" generally work together with a plan that is anything but desultory in its nature.
For me, living with intention serves me well. Occasionally, I can get caught up, or just plain caught, in my intentions. After all though I don't believe in a micro-manager god, I do believe in God that occasionally says to me, "remember who you're trying to kid here".......like my prayer life. I think my feeling of disconnect over the past few weeks or maybe months has been my will suggesting that I was really a devoted believer but that I just wasn't connecting with God. That may've been true but my larger problem was that becoming stagnant in my routine of prayer and thanksgivings, I felt a disconnect - I wasn't listening, I wasn't waiting for the answer - I just decided the answer wasn't coming........
Well, the word desultory fits right in here......I think. Aimless, without purpose or intent, haphazardly, random - how can a prayer life thrive under those descriptive words? For me, I may need a new tool or reading to assist me in my private worship and meditation but I feel there's a responsibility for me to find those tools, to wait for God, to listen to the silence (as one of my favorite readers commented to me yesterday) again, to listen to the silence and to believe with purpose, with whole heart that God is there for me - God is not aimless, God is not random nor without purpose, nor without a plan for me - God does leave the time of morning grooming and breakfast food selection up to me but I think that his voice guides (doesn't push the yes button for me) me to the bigger decisions for my mind, body, and soul - nudging me along, offering options galore, heartache, love, loss, disappointment, joy, heaven, loaves, fishes, lox and bagels - there is randomness in my life.
My prayer though in closing is that I have the courage and honesty to be partners with God through this time I live in this dimension of my life. To protect myself from aimless, intentionless, random drifting in and out of situations or daily exchanges that do nothing to enhance my life or anyone else's. With God's help to make intentions and to keep those intentions as long as I am able.
How about you - desultory ring any bells with you? Are your days filled with aimless, random happenings running one day into another with no recognition of where you're going, where you've been or where you've seen or touched a presence greater than yourself? I wonder and I'd love to hear if intentional living feels like a good concept to you.