Neglect is a word that speaks of failure to care properly. There are two kinds of neglect: one neglects selfishly and carelessly, the other neglects forgetfully and absentmindedly. Both have the same effect. The thing neglected receives improper care and suffers.
Today I neglected my aging cat. He can no longer manage his body as he once could. So when he wants to go outside, I take him and stay with him until he seems ready to return indoors. Today was cold, so I took him out and followed him around until I got cold. I decided to go inside and return for him in a few minutes. More than a few minutes later and when I saw his empty place in the living room, I remembered that he was still outside.
When I went to look for him, he was not where I had left him. Thinking that he had tried to get to the front door, I went through the house and out the front. As I came around the side of the house, I startled my cat who struggled to hide under the utility trailer. His pitiful attempt to escape danger alerted me to my own neglectful behavior. His physical need relies on my ability to not neglect him.
I thought about this with regard to my inner life. I have been neglecting my own spiritual needs. I forget or absentmindedly go about my day without giving my spirit much thought. My spirit suffers from my neglect. I am beginning to sense an inner lameness that makes me vulnerable to danger. This has alerted me. Neglect compromises the safety of my soul. My spiritual need relies on behavior that does not neglect that need.
Here is the reflective question for the day: “How is neglect affecting your spiritual life?”