I am made to creep about the edges of things.
Trying to make me into a "normal" citizen is like trying to “make” a gay person straight. We need people who raise families and we need people who consider listening to the birds a useful, vital, necessity, as essential as air and food. We need generalists and we need particularists. We need people who are happy, joyous and free and we need obsessives, neurotics, misfits, malcontents, and cranks.
In a way, St. Thérèse is the saint of people who don’t know how to do anything “useful.” You're on fire with the desire to give all and then you realize your all is absurdly small! Your all is like the child who burns down the house and then, filled with remorse, tenderly scrapes together a quarter to rebuild it. Here, here’s everything I have! A quarter, a penny...
Just as then Martha complained of Mary her sister, so to this day do actives complain of contemplatives. Wherever you find anyone, man or woman, in any body of people, religious or secular (there are no exceptions), who feel moved by God’s grace and guidance to forsake all outward activity and set about living the contemplative life and who, as I say, knows what he is about, his conscience and advisors corroborating, just as soon will you find his brothers, sisters, best friends, and sundry others, who know nothing of his inward urge, or the contemplative life itself, rise up with great complaint, and sharply reprove him, and tell him he is wasting his time. And they will recount all sorts of tales, some false and some true, describing how such men and women who have given themselves up to such a life in the past have fallen. There is never a tale of those who make good.
--The Cloud of Unknowing, anonymous,circa 1370
|THE BACK YARD|