A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Saturday, January 24, 2004 :::
"Our modern world is starved of silence."

This is an arresting statement. It embodies much of what I see wrong with the world. I am not married, and the problem for an older single person is remaining connected with other people, a cross to bear into old age. But I have also been a person who has always done too much. A valued professor and friend who had not seen me for 20 years asked me something like, "And which activity keeps you fed?," meaning exactly that I was doing many things, only one or two of which paid. He was right in his assessment of me. But in talking to another old mentor and friend, I described how I did not care how long my plane flights were (including ground travel), because I read all the time, and it is just as easy to read on the train to Baltimore-Washington International as it is in my office. I can afford the time you must expend to use a cheaper ticket.

Those who make the ultimate sacrifice for humanity--by having children--cannot choose how their time will be ordered, in the way that I more or less can. But what I do not understand is the urge to fill every moment with some "meaningful" activity. So many parents that I know never allow a day where everyone is just hanging around the house. This doesn't apply to teenagers, particularly boys, as they are mainly interested in being away, and they want you to be there so that they can hide from the overwhelming pressures of the independence that they long for. That is the natural order of things: if boys did not want to go away, humanity would stagnate and die. But that must develop within a context of stability and, truly, silence.

For Christians, of course, there is a day where silence should be the order of the entire day, and I have always wondered at families that complained about the length of a church service because it conflicted with some other scheduled activity. Church is not an activity. One Calvinist family I know did the right thing: their kids were in soccer, and they asked that all events be pushed later into Sunday afternoon, so as not to crowd out Sunday morning. That was great, and an inspiration to us all, but better by far that Sunday be so important that we go back to a day when enforced attendance at "activities" was frowned upon.

The quote at the top of the page was taken from the indispenable Zenit , at the very end of its daily dispatch for January 20.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 11:30 AM



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