Immersed in Inertia

The other day I was working on a case my law firm is handling, and I looked in vain for over 1,000 pages of medical records which should have been in the file.  I was horrified to discover that I had requested a copy of these records from the hospital three months earlier! My first instinct was to browbeat myself for failing to be organized well since I should have received those records at least two months ago. 

Quickly, seemingly on autopilot, I started browbeating the hospital records department for their incompetence, laziness, disorganization, and a dozen other negative adjectives!  My call to the records department resulted in the records being sent to me via an adobe link within one hour!  But it was the conversation with the hospital employee which still reverberates in my mind and heart. 

Me: “Seriously, you have had my written request, the proper signed authorization, and the $384 check to cover the cost for almost 100 days!”

She: “Sir, I am so sorry, and to be honest, I have been unable to even find my desk, there are so many records requests piled up needing my attention.  It feels like I take one step forward and five steps backwards!”

A friend recently stunned my linguistic love of a well-turned phrase, when he used a phrase which, to me, could easily be applied to the hospital worker:   “Immersed in Inertia.”  My Websters says inertia means “indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.”  Immersed means “covered over, completely underneath.” I truly feel that hospital worker could claim to be Immersed in Inertia, coming to work every day with a piled-up desk of urgent jobs which needed her attention, but which she could not realistically provide.

I am sure she did not sit idly at her piled-high desk out of laziness.  I envision her jumping from one task to another, involved in putting out fires, one by one, while the slow burning embers of a three-month-old records request was not near the top of her priority list!   We humans can be so swept up in the “tyranny of the urgent” that the non-urgent just sits and sits, waiting for someone to push it into our field of vision! [I highly recommend Charles Hummel’s 1997 booklet “Freedom from the Tyranny of the Urgent” (Intervarsity Press)].

Being overwhelmed, completely underneath, and covered over, without the ability to move, exert, or change is an awful image which bespeaks death rather than life.  The need to move, exert, and change keeps us alive and helps us focus, grow, and enjoy transformation.  Christ-followers intent on honoring, loving, and walking daily/hourly with God invite into their lives real spiritual transformation and the idea of being Immersed in Inertia, voluntarily or involuntarily, is abhorrent, disgusting, and unwelcome.

The subtitle of my book on The Merton Prayer is “An Exercise in Authenticity” which invites readers to acknowledge that one cannot pray this prayer regularly and remain superficial in one’s faith journey.  The Merton Prayer is packed with rarely encountered honest authenticity in connecting with the Creator God of the Universe.  If you feel at all, slightly, or fully Immersed in Inertia in your prayer life and connecting with God, I encourage you this week to pray this prayer many times a day, especially when you feel beset with the “tyranny of the urgent” and see how God meets you.  Inertia cannot even exist, in my humble opinion, when one breathes The Merton Prayer into one’s spiritual journey regularly. “My Lord God;” “I hope I have the desire to please you;” “I will trust you always;” “I will not fear;” “I think that I am following your will;” and “You will never leave me to face my perils alone;” along with the entire 158 words of this prayer just might grab your heart in ways not felt before as you walk closer with God.

[NOTE:  If your organization, church, or school would like a workshop/presentation on The Merton Prayer please use the contact tab and let me know!  I can Zoom all over the world and have done 90-minute, 3 hour, 5 hour, weekend, or five-day workshops/retreats.]

Leave a comment, if you wish, regarding this post or how you found The Merton Prayer and why it is important to you.  Thanks for visiting!

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