Carl is different from most dogs that we have owned. Instead of being at peace with the present, he is constantly wanting what is behind the door or on the other side of the gate. Bee is perfectly at peace with her life while Carl struggles to find the contentment that most dogs seem to possess without effort. His loud howls or destroying the toilet paper roll when he can’t see me are clear indications that he has a form of acedia.
Acedia? I was recently introduced to this word and now I can’t stop thinking about how significant it has become in my life. In a nutshell, acedia is when your thoughts take you to a lethargic imagined place where the grass is always greener and all your troubles will go away.
I am sure if you live and breathe you have visited this place in your thoughts many times. Maybe even today when the traffic was unbearable, the kids were screaming, or when you looked at your bank account and saw you were low on funds. These are the times when we remember the Calgon commercial where the person only dreams about getting home, warming up a hot bath, placing the Calgon water softener in, and letting their thoughts take them away to anywhere but here.
So you may ask what is so wrong with this way of thinking. What could be so wrong with discerning about a better time and place than the present? The problem occurs when we exchange fantasizing about what we want with the gift that God has given to us in the present. We miss the blessings of today because we are focused on another time that just isn’t real.
If we are constantly dreaming about that pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow, we become more and more selfish and less grateful for the true blessings that are right in front of us. In Philippians 4:8 Paul clearly states what are thoughts should be. “Finally, brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
So in the last couple of days, I have tried to keep away from acedia thoughts and place them on the truth. As for Carl, I don’t think he will ever understand how blessed he is to have the present. But hopefully over time, he will learn to be content with his life as a dog.