Have you ever watched a chicken roam the yard? It wanders here and there, going in circles, darting off after a moth, now a mosquito, now a grasshopper, scratching the earth, rarely looking up.
She spends her days scratching, clucking, wandering in circles, hither and thither.
“Those seeking the life of the spirit should be cheerful and free, and not
Married people must act in conformity with their
but their progress will of necessity be but the pace of a hen.”
Teresa of Avila
Josephine Moffet Benton, in her book The pace of a hen, points out that while the hen does not appear to go anywhere, does not have the satisfaction of migrating twice a year as do many of the songbirds, and appears old fashioned and a little ridiculous at times, yet she brings ‘forth creation of daily usefulness.’
And why not go in circles?, asks Mrs. Benton. She points out that God created the year in a circle of seasons, the longest trip we can take is to go around the world, and that each day is itself a circle of hours.
“The very course of blood through our veins and arteries is known as the circulatory system…. Why disparage going around in circles? Any other route suggests imbalance, a jumping-off-place, abyss. Perhaps the hen’s pace is a wholesome one in rhythm with the universe.”
Do you spend your days spinning your wheels, feeling like you’re just going around and around without making progress?
DNA is a spiral- it goes around and around, yet it holds the mysteries of life. Spiral staircases also go around and around in a seemingly tightly circumscribed space. Yet at some point you find that you are moving up- or down.
Make sure your circles are bringing you closer to God, yes, but don’t worry about the fact that they are circles.
We are not Catholic, but if you are interested in reading further about Teresa of Avila, you may find this free Kindle title useful:
Santa Teresa an Appreciation: with some of the best passages of the Saint’s Writings