Good

6 years ago with 16 comments in Uncategorized
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing.1 When I was in college and going through the worst of it, I got tired of praying that the sadness would go away and that things would be easy. I got tired of it because it was a prayer that was never answered. Or maybe it was, since it’s said that every prayer has only three possible answers: ...

Wretched Machine

6 years ago with 7 comments in Uncategorized
A reader sent me part of this quotation from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Since it’s better than anything I’m likely to come up with tonight, I’ll pass it along. It’s been too long since I’ve read that book. If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character ...

Balance

6 years ago with 10 comments in Uncategorized
Lent really snuck up on me this year, the way Christmas never does. Of course there’s no real reason for the culture at large to get all geared up for Lent, since Lent usually means people buying less, not more. I doubt most people notice Lent at all, except for wondering about the black smudges. Still, that’s not a very good excuse for (1) eating a triple-size meal for Ash ...

Antimirage

6 years ago with 16 comments in Uncategorized
Can you guess the reason that I’ve got a keyboard gathering dust in my parents’ attic, a drum set doing the same in their spare room, a fiddle languishing in my closet, and a duduk slowly drying in my dresser? I’ll give you a hint — it’s the same reason I can read the Cyrillic alphabet but can’t speak a word of Russian, can pronounce German passably but ...

The Look

6 years ago with 34 comments in Uncategorized
Is there anything more beautiful than the human face? Beautiful because it manifests the mystery of incarnation: meat made more than meat, flesh quickened by spirit, the breath of God made visible; the way the wind is made visible when it moves the trees. Faces show love, show what it looks like, a visible image of the invisible. Think of Jesus’ face in Mark 10:21: “Jesus looked ...

Pierced

6 years ago with 29 comments in Uncategorized
Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke. My new Pandora station has been helping to keep me sane. I should be depending on the Lord for that, but I ask you: who else could have made Patsy Cline? Music always makes me think of colors, and Patsy is a deep, breathless blue, like a summer sky at midnight. Thank God for Pandora, too, because all of my old music is so saturated in memories that I can ...

Light of Hope

6 years ago with 31 comments in Uncategorized
“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”1 To be a Christian is to know that the phrase “too good to be true” is nonsense. A thing is true insofar as it is good, and good insofar as it is true. The best thing imaginable is the truest thing imaginable. But the imagination is ...

Concede Diem

6 years ago with 13 comments in Uncategorized
“Death is the mother of beauty.” Dear Wallace Stevens, you brilliant, urbane, doddering old insurance-salesman of a poet: no it isn’t. Yesterday being All Souls’ day, I spent some time thinking about death. I wasn’t depressed. I felt (and feel) great, actually. Thinking of death is what you’re supposed to do on that day and on Ash Wednesday and at the very ...

The Knife

6 years ago with 7 comments in Uncategorized
Some people think Christians are in love with suffering. Not true: it’s just that we don’t see it as something to be categorically avoided. My heart hurts right now. It just does, and none of your business why, dear readers, although you’d understand it well enough. I know myself well enough to know that it’ll pass, and probably soon. There’s a kind of hurt that ...

Men and Mountains, Part I

6 years ago with 20 comments in Uncategorized
Following my strange little wee-hours rant on apes and desire last night, reader Jamie added a quotation from C. S. Lewis, which of course is where I got the idea in the first place — thanks, Jamie: If you find in yourself a desire which no earthly thing can satisfy, the logical conclusion must be that you are made for another world. That other world—heaven—echoes in you. And reader ...