Monday, August 27, 2018

Vainglorious Arrows

If you've stumbled upon this post, you're welcome to read, but please understand I'm actually creating this for our Tuesday morning men's group as a way to give them a link to an illustration that I, as will hopefully become clear, was reluctant to put on social media.

Our inner life—what makes up our inner being of will, thoughts, emotions, social connections, and even the dispositions of our body—will constantly entangle us and defeat us. Paul’s penetrating description has never been improved on: “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish” (Rom. 7:19). Paul, of course, did not stay there. He knew the bitter reality, but he also knew how to move on. ~Dallas Willard in chapter 2

I was playing Skyrim one day when my Archery skill level increased and I remembered a quote from Mary Roach's wonderfully entertaining book Packing for Mars:

“No one goes out to play anymore. Simulation is becoming reality. But it isn't anything like reality. Ask an M.D. who spent a year dissecting a human form tendon by gland by nerve, whether learning anatomy on a computer simulation would be comparable. Ask an astronaut whether taking part in a space simulation is anything like being in space. What's different? Sweat, risk, uncertainty, inconvenience. But also, awe. Pride. Something ineffably splendid and stirring.”

I figured if I'm going to level up my archery skill, I may as well do it in real life. I'd been shooting again recently anyway and decided to start keeping track of my progress in a spreadsheet I keep regarding my various workouts.

During a recent workout then, I happened to have a really good volley. I'm only shooting from a distance of 45 feet from the target, but was satisfied with the result of volley number 8 and took a picture with my cell phone.

Having recently finished Glittering Vices: A new look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung I was convicted that posting something like this on social media would amount to vainglory. You see, this is what I want to world to see. This is what I want people to think of me. This is the type of thing social media seems to be filled with. But...

Here's the result of the very next volley

This, on the other hand, is what I don't want to world to see. Sometimes I fail. It's not that I want to miss the mark. Even though I try my best, sometimes I'm just off. It is comforting to know that even Paul had to struggle with this at times.

So here's the reality

The spreadsheet doesn't lie. This is my average; I hit the circle 40% of the time. Am I happy with it? No. That's why I'll keep trying. That's why I'm moving on.

So why not post this on social media? Posting the first picture alone would be misleading and vainglorious. I thought about posting this story for "friends" on social media, but what would be my goal there? To have people 'like' it? To impress them with my humbleness...?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux comes to my rescue with the following:

But to seek praise for humility is to destroy the virtue in it. The truly humble man prefers to pass unnoticed rather than have his humility extolled in public. He is happy to be overlooked; if he has any pride at all it consists in despising praise.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Quiet Time

Remember when people used to blog?...

I've been off the bike for a while but am slowly getting back in the groove. When I say I'm taking it slow I mean that even though my knee feels fine now, I'm not going back to riding 20 miles or more a day. I started with 6 or 7 and have stretched that to 10 to 12 without any resulting discomfort.

Here's part of my morning quiet time routine now:

This spot is half way through my ride and where I like to stop, read, and drink my coffee.

And, according to my dB meter app, this is the quietest spot during the ride:

It may seem counter-intuitive, but it is a nice spot to stop, get off the bike, and just stand there for a few before finishing up and sitting down in front of a computer for work for the next 8 or 9 hours.