I’m not sure what comes first: 3isolation, boredom or apathy. I am fairly certain, though, that all three have been working together to lull me into something close to torpor: a physiological condition best described as prolonged inactivity.
Mostly I’m not a 4torporous guy. With Chris, I walk or exercise every day. Zoom-enabled worship and Bible study are part of my life. I keep up with friends via e-mail. Lackluster laziness might not seem to affect me. Still, I’m aware that I could be heading toward 5torpidity and its diminution of purpose and excitement.
Since last fall’s political volunteering, much of my daily COVID schedule happens at a slower pace, and in a semi-isolated way. I experience few face-to-face engagements. I feel detached from responsibilities. I tell myself that I’m conserving my assets for the future—that my dormancy is a Sabbath or a hibernation that will eventually enable bursts of creative energy.
But perhaps I’ve gotten too comfortable living this way, with not much responsibility for the outcomes of my tepid lifestyle.
A hard question looms on the horizon: If I’ve started to think this is an okay-normal life, what’s going to happen when COVID recedes and reality-based normal returns? Will I be able to throw off the lap blanket of torpor and take up again my zeal for purpose and meaning? Will I be eager for new challenges or opportunities? Will I want to be useful again?
Spring is coming, and I hope that my current 6hibernative view of myself and my lifestyle will dissipate in the presence of warmth and nature’s renewal. I look forward to the enthusiasm that comes when I gather again with friends, family and congregation members to get on with God’s work!
That will be a welcome time of 7anti-tepiditious non-torporosity!
1Tepid: “Neither hot nor cold” is how Revelations 3:16 describes lukewarm folks, also noting that God wants to spit them out.
2Torpor, per its Latin root: “numb, inactive, dull”. Definitely not admirable qualities in older adults who are full of years!
3I’m still working on the “chicken or egg” question.
4I have a Blog Writers’ Guild Creative Authorization Card (BWGCAC) that allows me to make up words.
5An actual word, rarely used because it sounds like one of the selling features of an imaginary Opel SUV: “From idle to 30 mph in just five minutes”.
6See Number 4 above.