Water the Stick

Coptic icon of Pachomius the Great, the founde...

Coptic icon of Pachomius the Great, the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abba Pachomius, a third-century monk living in the Egyptian desert, once stuck his walking stick in the ground and told a fellow monk to water the stick.  The monk thought this was madness, but water the stick he did.  Each day, he faithfully returned to his task, watering a walking stick in the desert.  But then, one day, the stick began to sprout leaves.

This is a story traditionally told in Christian monasteries as a lesson in patience, obedience, and dedication.  Who knows how long it will take, but water the stick and one day you might be watering a tree.

Amma Synclectica put it another way: A hen who does not sit on her eggs will hatch no chickens.

These sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers kept me grounded and focused while I wrote my dissertation.  They kept me going when I was lost in woods of research and writing.

Water the stick…  Water the stick…

I return to this often in my life to remind myself to attend to the process instead of the result.  For example, if I want to be a writer, I must write.  And write.  And write.  That’s what this blog is for.

Water the stick….  Water the stick….

Hopefully, one day, I’ll find that the stick has become a tree.  But really I hope that I will find joy in the watering.  That’s really the point of Abba Pachomius’ lesson: the joy is in the process.


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