The analog algorithm of life keeps feeding me Sisyphus

Tonight our house was mostly quiet and I decided to spend some time preparing for part of our church gathering I’m tasked to lead on Sunday. I leafed through a few books that are my go-to resources for words to borrow, blessings to read, and truths to sit with. One of my go-to resources is John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom. I have not read this book front to back, or completely. I read sections selected with equal influence of the index and intuition. Tonight, for the first time, I noticed there was a section about Sisyphus, likely because I was thinking about the Myth of Sisyphus just a few hours earlier. If you’re not familiar with it, here is a short summary and analysis.

I temporarily abandoned the task for church to read the section about Sisyphus, in which John O’Donohue discusses weariness in relationship to work. A story within that section smacked me on the head. Here’s the excerpt:

There is a lovely story of a man exploring Africa. He was in a desperate hurry on a journey through the jungle. He had three or four Africans helping him carry his equipment. They raced onward for about three days. At the end of the third day, the Africans sat down and would not move. He urged them to get up, telling them of the pressure he was under to reach his destination before a certain date. They refused to move. He could not understand this; after much persuasion, they still refused to move. Finally, he got one of them to admit the reason. This native said, “We have moved too quickly to reach here; now we need to wait to give our spirits a chance to catch up with us.” Many people who are secretly weary of work have never given themselves time, or taken time out or away from work, to allow their spirits to catch up. Giving yourself plenty of time is a simple but vital reflective exercise: Leave all agendas behind you. Let the neglected presence of your soul come to meet and engage you again. It can be a lovely reacquaintance with your forgotten mystery.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara, pp. 151-152

And isn’t that just about the loveliest smack on the head? The contrast between the belabored, relentless, never-ending work of Sisyphus and the Africans who sat down and refused to move is striking and beautiful. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I have in this season to let my spirit catch up.

As a bonus, please enjoy this Sisyphus cartoon I also spotted today thanks to, well, the algorithm.