Relieved to be Virtuous

The other week, something encouraging happened. I made a note to myself to write it down, because I was so excited about it and I wanted to preserve the memory.

It was a Monday. I had spent the day busily bustling around, and made an extra effort to get through a to-do list that seemed especially long that day.

opened book
Image credit: https://unsplash.com/@aaronburden

In the early afternoon, my to-do list was growing shorter and less urgent, and a moment arrived when anyone else in the house was either sleeping or otherwise occupied, so that I had some time to myself. Time to spend however I liked!

Many days I would have taken a nap myself in a moment like that and felt no shame in it. Other days I might have sent messages to friends to keep in touch, or perhaps simply scrolled through social media looking for something interesting to read.

This day, however, as the time of freedom approached, I was looking forward to having a chance to review a piece of academic German writing that I’ve been reading through slowly with a friend.

The house was quiet. I made some coffee. And then I sat down and spent an hour reading German, looking up the words I didn’t remember, reviewing my list of unfamiliar words when I needed a little break, and then diving back in and reading more.

It’s not the first time something like that has happened in my life, but those experiences are rare.

It’s not rare for me to study languages, especially in the last couple years. But to rush to spend an extended period reading from a text, that is more uncommon.

The best parallel I can think of from the past is one time when I read John’s entire Apocalypse in Greek on a bus trip from Saskatchewan to BC. At the time I had hoped that was the beginning of a new habit, but in fact it was the end of one.

But a decade later, after much effort, I’ve gotten there again. I was, in that moment, relieved — relieved to have the chance to do something I felt good about wanting to do! And I’m relieved by that relief.

I can’t say what it means for the future, if anything, but I do feel good about who I’m becoming right now.

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