A four-hour flight home. Window seat. Perfect. A bird’s-eye view of the planet. Or perhaps just the clouds. Either way, the window seat of this 737 provides a place to lay my head. Perhaps a nap. Sleeping on a plane is not really sleeping. Whatever it is, it needs its own word. An ugly sounding word. A word uncomfortable on the tongue.
Visiting Eighth Day Books has been a daydream of mine for a while, and though I have yet to make it to Wichita, I had the next-best delight of browsing their book tables at the CiRCE conference last month. So I am now the joyful host to several Eighth Day books making their homes on my bookshelf.
On the Sunday after the 2016 CiRCE National Conference, I had the great pleasure of attending a local church with some of the conference attendees. The church building of Ascension Orthodox Church in Charleston was stunning, and the interior was filled with beautiful artwork. When we walked in we immediately saw a huge scaffold erected in the center of the room, and the priest explained that for the past few months an artist was painting the interior of the church dome. The figures that had already been painted were breathtaking.
As a new dad, I have learned many new things in caring for my baby son, Hunter: He does not like the dark or his naptime, but he loves the sound of the vacuum cleaner, when his tummy gets rubbed, or being carried on my shoulder. In taking care of him, I have noticed a few principles that we can correlate to the education as a way of life.
Frodo has come a long way in his regard for Gollum. Where once he regretted that Bilbo had not killed Gollum, now he is ready to beg Faramir for Gollum’s life. You’ll recall the scene: Gollum is hunting for fish in a forbidden pool where even the unbidden look carries the penalty of death, whilst Faramir’s men stand ready with bow and arrow poised. And Frodo comes to his rescue.
It’s sometimes easy to smile cynically at the Romantics of the nineteenth century, to dismiss their desire to receive the “greatest delight which the fields and woods minister.” But there were plenty who even over a century ago felt the need to slow down, to go into the woods, “live deliberately,” and “drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms.” The unbridled desire for things has a cost in any epoch. And when those desires are misguided, it is actually worse, as Boethius suggests, if one should obtain the object of his desire.
Parenting has got to be the biggest act of faith a person can take. You pour yourself into these young souls, knowing that you won’t see the fruit of that labor until well past the time that you can fix it. In faith you plant those seeds and you water them and you try to provide the most nourishing soil you can, but in the end you can only pray and wait to see what kind of plant will grow. And sometimes, the hardest part of the waiting is when that sprout first begins to show. You see something there, but it sure does look like a weed.
A good friend of mine sent me this amazing poem, and it touched me very deeply. Take a moment to listen to the poet recite it and hear his explanation of why he wrote it and what we can learn from suffering. Truly good stuff here. Enjoy!
The Journey, a poem by David Whyte