Surviving the holiday without our loved ones
Yet our little sister does not play the victim. She presses on, a sufferer who labors as best she can while shadows and thorns press in against her. And she prays to God like the woman persistent in her case when contending with an unjust judge; and since God is just, since He is the Good and Righteous Judge of All the Earth, our little sister’s hope remains “deeper still.”
Might our local faith communities support such cultivation of virtue, while also restoring what might again be a hub of parish social life?
I guess it’s time to sweep. Again. And then again. But we can embrace the gentler side of housekeeping. Besides, if you leave be those spiders in the corners, they might yet catch some other bugs for you, performing an essential service.
It’s not perhaps that the world doesn’t need change, but that as anti-Machine author Paul Kingsnorth put it in these pages, “the first work is changing yourself.” We have to live where we’re placed, and for Eve at the Meat and Malt, right now that means continuing to serve the guests who entreat her for sustenance, despite the intrusion of the impersonal into her hospitality.
I wish environmentalists would better understand that there are no mustache-twirling billionaires drilling and digging and burning oil just for the hell and the money of it. Like money, petroleum is a very effective way to get the things we all want at the best convenience. And those in the oil industry are simply happy to oblige us and profit by their labors.
Tabletop games put something in our twitchy, swipe-hungry fingers other than a digital device—a hand of cards, a pair of dice, a plastic Zeus. And since others have put down their phones too, we can look out over those cards into a human face, a present human face.
What this means is death. When our kids were little, parenting meant death to my independence: my time, my space, my very body, were no longer my own. Parenting meant death to sleeping in and going out on a whim. It meant death to plans carefully wrought and carelessly wrecked by fever and blowouts and ear infections.
Neither Wheeler Catlett nor his real-life inspiration John Marshall Berry practiced in the 21st century, but for those of us in the profession who do, their example remains powerful and timeless. We live within a membership of community.
It is encouraging to see how some young people have embraced limits on energy consumption. But the underlying disease of rapacious desire has not been cured. No, this tradeoff only exchanges one delusion of grandeur for another. It swaps external limitlessness for internal limitlessness.