In our current day and age, it is more important than ever that we allow ourselves to reclaim the sacred space of silence. We must rip this silence from the science of use. Unclench those tightened fingers and pour the silence into the well, of which we cannot see the bottom, but from which springs the unexplained life.
We treat silence too often like an object, something to be manipulated and molded, squeezed and compressed into the most useful shape. We ought to treat it more like a living, breathing thing, for in silence dwells the living presence of God (and His own beating heart). In silence is the infinite, for in silence there is the perpetual potential for the not-yet to become the now. Silence is a gift which promises the richness of life, a gift which is ever ours, should we choose to open it for what it is, rather than reshaping it into what we have decided it should be.
The sky’s blue is almost as rich as the river below it. Sheltered beneath the paternal curving branches and watching as the birds explore with song, I think, and the thoughts come with ease. I think that it is easy to see beauty on a day such as this. Spring has accelerated the water’s pace and filled it to bursting with joy. The new grass is animated by the breeze, which makes it dance. And warmth pulses with an agreeable freshness.
I like to plan, and have always considered planning to be a good and worthwhile (even necessary) activity. However, the more that I think about it, the more I begin to question the value of planning and to see the matter as up for debate.
Is it good to plan? First of all, I should say that such a question is unanswerable, or that it would yield an invalid answer. To talk about the value of planning, we need to make a distinction not only between different types of plans, but between different circumstances in which planning might arise. This suggests that planning does not have an intrinsic value so much as a contingent one. Whether or not planning is good depends on multiple factors surrounding the planning process, not on the joy of the planning itself (though planning can indeed be joyful at times).
We are often told (and probably tell ourselves) that we ought to “live in the moment.” I wholeheartedly agree with this advice and am all for advocating mindfulness in an age of distraction (though I do think this advice is frequently delivered in a superficial way). On the other hand, we, as human beings, are oriented toward the future. Our lives and our selves are not split apart into separate and unrelated pieces (or moments). Identity is continuous and stretches over the course of many, many moments (too many to count). As humans we are also beings endowed with the capacity for self-reflection. We are not mere machines acting according to instinct and doing the things that have been programmed within us to do. Rather, we have the ability both to act and to think critically about those same actions, to engage in self-evaluation and to develop hopes, dreams and ideas pertaining to self and reaching towards our future life.
Looked at in this way, is it any wonder we plan? Could it even be said that we are planning beings?
Sorrow soaking in the ground
And from the sky which had
Lost light three days ago
When the sun had hid his face
From a burden borne of shame.
On this day she came
And wandered lands that had been known
In happier times. Read more
He does not know
He crouches by the flames with hope
That warmth might bar the way from fear
And yet the other people crowd
And far away the people jeer
He does not know
The man; now fear is pulsing
Like a drug within his veins
And the drive to live remains
(But what a life is left?)
Beneath the green and leafy sheltered arch,
A place is found of solitude and peace
And yet the living glade is dry and parched
For it cannot contain what will not cease: Read more
God abides among the ruins. He is in the broken pieces of language, and in the severed stems of something beautiful. Allow him to sew them together, to plant the fragment seeds in the ground; let Him lift the dampened petals with a sudden and unexpected breeze. And then you will watch the petals dance, and the once fallen flowers will form a new spring, perhaps not today, not tomorrow, but on a someday completely assured.
They fill the fragrant air
With waving signs of life.
The breeze between the palm tips flits
And finds a world in flux Read more
Everett was happy to be home, as he almost always was. Everything about his home (and even the fact that he had one) was a matter of much happiness to Everett, who could remember a time not so long ago when home had been more about emptiness and silent spaces.
As it was now, Monica met him at the door. She spoke softly, as if she did not want to be overheard, but a brightness had dawned on her face when she saw him there on the step. Bridging the distance between them quickly, she kissed him. Monica’s hair was straight, brown and almost always confined in an elastic. Whenever Everett jokingly suggested she set it free, she laughed and did not do so, not the next day or the one after that. She did not see herself the way Everett saw her.
We often spout off lines about the unimportance of beauty, or at least its subservience to other, greater things. We say things like, “Beauty is only skin deep” or “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
But I want to ask: Is this really true?
Certainly we would say that a person who cares only about physical beauty and disdains knowledge or understanding of the interior is a very shallow person indeed. We would probably go so far as to say that they are “not a very good person at all.” However, concern for physical beauty does not necessarily align with the all-or-nothing approach. A person might care about physical beauty (in themselves and in others), though this is not all they care about or the primary thing that they care about. My question is not only, should we care about physical beauty? but also, is it possible for us not to care about physical beauty?