flash of sanity

23 Mar

I’ve been silently watching Facebook debates.battle of britain

Gay marriage.

Gun control.


Pick a topic. Does it matter?

Peering through my canopy,
I wonder if I should dive in.

Feeling awful for the one who explodes in the feed, all caps and expletives.

Smoke trails from dogfights overhead. Aircraft soaring, diving, exploding. Victory rolls. Distant booms.

Anger. Smugness. Compassion. Bewilderment. LOL. If these avatars were animated like Potter’s paintings, what would these faces do? “Friends” gained. “Friends” lost. What does that even mean in such a “place”? What does a tally like 760 “friends” even mean, really? There are three with whom I will crack my heart.

Athenians re-birthed online, faceless faces, exchanging views on something ever new but always old. Garnering “likes” and virtual high fives. And next will be the “tsk tsk” button for those who don’t play well or who clearly show they aren’t “with it.”

Have we ever left that school cafeteria?

Then, in the midst of the food fight, of likes and jeers by virtual jocks, gushing cheerleaders, and lurking zit-faced nerds, a flash of sanity from printed page (ah, but even it is in a virtual iBook cloud!) from Merton, circa 1966:

A flash of sanity: the momentary realization that there is no need to come to certain conclusions about persons, events, conflicts, trends, even trends toward evil and disaster, as if from day to day, and even from moment to moment, I had to know and declare (at least to myself) that this is so and so, this is good, this is bad. We are heading for a “new era” or we are heading for destruction. What do such judgments mean? Little or nothing.

Things are as they are in an immense whole of which I am a part and which I cannot pretend to grasp. To say I grasp it is immediately to put myself in a false position, as if I were “outside” it. Whereas to be “in” it is to seek truth in my own life and action, moving where movement is possible and keeping still when movement is unnecessary, realizing that things will continue to define themselves and that the judgments and mercies of God will clarify themselves and will be more clear to me if I am silent and attentive, obedient to His will, rather than constantly formulating statements in this age which is smothered in language, in meaningless and inconclusive debate in which, in the last analysis, nobody listens to anything except what agrees with his own prejudices.

Perhaps I’ll just mind my tongue, steer away from the virtual dog pile. Perhaps I’ll live and love face to face instead.

The grass is greening outside.


pure faith this. from my yard. spring, what, two years ago? too much brown, yet…but it is greening…


Posted by on March 23, 2013 in musings


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5 responses to “flash of sanity

  1. ericstollerdonahue

    March 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm


  2. wordhaver

    March 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I think it was a moment of Ecclesiastes ennui. Feeling better now… 🙂

  3. Jennifer Stuart

    March 27, 2013 at 4:20 am

    This was WONDERFUL! “ever new but always old” gave me chills. Also, the three friends with whom you would “crack your heart,” I’ve never heard that expression before and absolutely love it. This is so beautiful! The timing, the words you used, the texture of them- it really all came together and I feel like I had a meal after reading that it was so nourishing!

  4. wordhaver

    March 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Great. Now you’re burping. 🙂

  5. Jennifer Stuart

    March 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    haha yes!!!


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