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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fret Not: Another Time Out

Almost heaven:  the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Okay, as I did in late June, I now have to take another break from infuriating, disgusting, outrageous, maddening, horrifying current events before I get a mental overload.  When I was younger, I used to chew on my anger as a dog gnaws a bone, whether directed at private or public persons; but such is not the course of wisdom.  Anger eats you up inside, and has no effect on the other party:  a bad habit that I am finally trying to break after sixty years of learning the hard way.

So if I don't post about current events for a while, I hope my truckbuddies will understand that it's not that I don't know what's going on, or have stopped caring; but I have to take care of myself first, or I will be no good to anyone.  I'm sure my truckbuddies can see the present situation in this country as well as I can:  it's entirely obvious, the contrast between Good and Evil, True and False, Democracy and Dictatorship - or should I say, Dicktatorship.  You don't really need me to tell you that.  But I have to step back awhile and catch my breath.

In the meantime, I recommend Psalm 37 for anyone who needs a mental break, a bit of fresh air, a calming thought just now.  As an Episcopalian, not a Bible-thumper, I say take it all merely as poetry, if you please.  I offer prayers and psalms and such on this blog not to proselytize, but simply as a means to inner peace, renewal of hope, and faith in the power of goodness:  the Love that moves the sun and other stars, as Dante put it.

If it works for you, fine; if not, I hope you will discover another path that does.  This is the spiritual grammar and vocabulary that I understand, that works for me.  Sometimes, anyway.

1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.


Frank said...

Tried posting a comment yesterday using my phone, but it "disappeared" in the ether.

In brief, I wanted to say I, too, get overloaded from time to time. The news is unrelentingly disastrous, notwithstanding COVID. That's why I make homemade pasta and other goodies, do my household chores and listen to smooth jazz and samba music. Sleep has been elusive since November 2016.

As for the Psalm...beautiful sentiment but at the risk of being cynical or heretical, I do say that not much has changed over the millennia, despite all the praying. I guess the words are for each era as well as the current times.

Russ Manley said...

Well, yes. All good literature is that way. As one of his theater buddies said of Shakespeare after his death: "He was not of an age, but for all time."

And of course the wicked, like the poor, are always with us (though they are not the same thing). That is why this Psalm, and many another, resonate so well with us today, in a darkening time. So too do other hymns and canticles, like the ringing words of the Magnificat, serve to uplift our hearts and steady our minds.

Even taken merely as poetry, all these things are true expressions of the highest Good we mortals are capable of, and refreshing to the soul. So is making pizza and doing the household chores: constructive acts, not destructive. We must not let evil overwhelm us in body or mind, but as someone once advised, "keep overcoming the evil with the good."

At least, I am trying to keep calm and carry on - the alternative is despair and darkness and death. But I refuse to believe that Evil exists in the world without a countervailing and ultimately triumphant Good - how illogical is that? It takes a conscious act of will for me to trust God and fear not - and somehow that tiny act of faith, repeated daily, even hourly, even minute by minute sometimes, serves to keep me on the rails and rolling in the right direction - stumbling and lame as my progress may be.

The words of the hymn just came into my mind: 'Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home. Amen.

I am well aware that this sort of talk is completely unfashionable nowadays, but it is all I have to offer to encourage myself and my truckbuddies, for whatever it may be worth in these frightening times. It has helped many others through calamities past.

God help us all.

Davis said...

Affectionate well wishes for a (hopefully) brief sabbatical.

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