Bella has recently begun opening the refrigerator to graze through the shelves.

The other morning she came in while I was nursing Sophia and said, “I want yogurt.” When I went into the kitchen I was much surprised to find the yogurt on the kitchen table. She’d tried to open the foil cover and failed. That was when she came to ask for help.

Tonight as I was cleaning the dinner dishes she came in and opened the refrigerator and spied the bag of pancakes leftover from Sunday’s breakfast. “I want pancakes.” She pulled them out and brought the bag to me to open.

As soon as she learns how to open ziplock bags and foil lids, I’ll never know what she’s eating.

Should I try to stop this behavior and institute a rule about not opening the refrigerator unless I’m present? Or should I glory in her newfound ability to feed herself? At least she does seem to always close the door after she’s helped herself.

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  • Thanks for the review; I would like to read this book. I read “Cloister Walk” and “Amazing Grace” by Kathleen Norris, and enjoyed them both. I am sorry to hear that her husband passed away.

  • I’d always thought of acedia as sloth (inspired by Dante, I guess).  I like the distinction between sloth and depression—the former is probably my besetting sin, the latter never even a temptation.  I’ll have to look for this book.

  • Mrs. D.

    Yeah, I think I had that impression too. The bits about the history of acedia were really some of my favorite parts.

    Norris explains that acedia was originally one of the “eight bad thoughts that plagued a monk” but that the eight bad thoughts or temptations were later revised and became the seven deadly sins and acedia was dropped from the list.

    She says that until the 13th century it was seen as an exclusively monastic vice and that as it came to be applied to lay people the emphasis shifted from purely spiritual to physical laziness.


  • I am reading this now. I’ve read Dakota and Cloister Walk and much prefer this one. It is almost the perfect version of those books. Much more insightful about her life and that of her husband, whom I would like to read more about but cannot find much on.

    Acedia seems to be a good word for much of what modern culture is facing and is often misdiagnosed as depression or sloth. I woulder whether there is a connection to President’s Carter’s idea years ago we were all suffering malaise.