So take a fresh grip on life and brace your trembling limbs. Don’t wander away from the path but forge steadily onward. On the right path the limping foot recovers strength and does not collapse. (PHILLIPS)
At the end of Ian McEwan’s wonderful short novel, On Chesil Beach, the main protagonist laments his inaction in seeking to win back his newlywed wife. He admits that the entire course of his life was changed by his doing nothing, by failing to pursue her and persuade her their problems could be worked out.
Our physical inaction can lead to physical discomfort and pain. Our putting off keeping in touch with others can weaken relationships. Our refusal to make a doctor’s appointment can mean a worsening of our health. Our reluctance to embrace a necessary spiritual discipline keeps us at a distance from God.
Such procrastination and paralysis can result from depression, a sad giving up of the possibility of anything getting better for us. It can be a product of fear, doing nothing seems less threatening than acting. It can also be sheer laziness, an unwillingness to tackle life and instead let life just happen to us.
The biblical writer urges us to get moving. Certainly, if depression is a factor, some deeper work is involved. It may take time and lots of encouragement from others. It may involve writing out checklists. But in many circumstances, we have to get up and get going. Not in frantic activity, but resolving to do just one or two things to break our apparent paralysis.
The things we do can shape and reshape our lives. The things we do not do have a similar effect.