Prayed lectio divina for the first time in a long time tonight. I did a really bad job.
I did a bad job because I couldn’t focus. I wasn’t just distracted—I really, truly couldn’t sit and think about anything for longer than a second—except for “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh,” which played incessantly in my head the entire 20 minutes.
What to do when you can’t focus, then?
The same thing you do in the face of any challenge worth undertaking: Keep trying.
That strategy didn’t work for me tonight, at least, not until about 18 minutes in. I’d read the passage (Mark 10:46-52) again and try thinking about it. Or, maybe I could think about what position I should sit in. Okay, I found a part of the passage that really speaks to me. Let’s pray on that. And by pray on that, I mean slap the rug in my room so it sounds like a drum. No, seriously, I’m just going to sit here and imagine myself in the scene as the blind man. And here comes Jesus—wait, no, it’s Allan Sherman.
After 18 minutes, I gave up on mental prayer and just started talking. That at least occupied my mind until the timer went off.
Was this session a waste of time? If the goal was to speak with God and to obtain profound insight, then yes, it was an abject failure. But if the goal was simply to begin a habit, to try to achieve the first goal, then it was a success. A success means my perseverance was not in vain, despite the constant presence of the world’s classiest novelty song.
Success isn’t the achievement of the ultimate goal. Not at first, anyway. Success is breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of achieving that goal. You can only break so many barriers before you break through completely.