**After a two-week sabbatical, dealing with the flu myself and sleepless nights helping my family come through it, I’m back to my writing.**

I’m beginning again, with my daily writing, and the daily practice of self-improvement and growth that I started at New Years.  

In these days of exhaustion and sickeness I’ve often thought of the strangeness of how things develop, and how infrequently our plans go according to our desires.  I had a nice little set schedule of prayer, exercise, and writing, among the joys and responsibilities of my little family, but then everything was swallowed up by sickness and tiredness.  And yet it’s often in the unlooked-for challenges, those we don’t plan on or really want, that the real growth comes. 

Experiencing, as all parents do, the combination of being sick, and caring for sick ones, losing sleep, and maintaining the responsibilities of work and house care, was extremely difficult, and draining,  But it was also beautiful, in it’s own way.  The attitude of complete self-giving, when you hold nothing back for selfisness or laziness, because you have no choice, is immensely purifying and achieves the full focus of our attention on what’s most important, like few other experiences can.

Having suffered that, in my own small way, it fills me with wonder and admiration for the people who go through life facing chronic illnesses or challenges that require that kind of generosity, not for two weeks, but for the memorable past, agonizing present, and foreseeable future.   That is true strength.

Returning to my health, and to my routine, I want to redouble my efforts to give my best to this task of growth and self-mastery. 

And I hope that you, my patient readers, in your own paths and circumstances, will choose to do the same. 

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