Silence at the Heart of Things

After 36 hours of retreat with the Benedictine monks at Glastonbury Abbey, I am reminded of the question raised by a beloved teacher of mine, in an undergraduate seminar 30 years ago: “Why is the man of action absurd?” (She had not yet adopted inclusive language.) Or as Ecclesiastes puts it: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” (1:9)

One way to take this truth is to ride it down into desperation and defeat: all comes to nothing. There is no point.

Another way to take this truth is to allow it to check our feverishness, and to welcome its injection of a mature irony into our stance toward the world. In a further twist of irony, then, the more deeply we stand in what is authentic about our human lives (including the absurdity of action), the more effective our action becomes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s