DayBreaks for 6/22/17: Sins Borne of Myopia
From the DayBreaks archive, 2007, from my oldest son’s blog:
Safe in Egypt we shall sigh
For lost insecurity;
Only when her terrors come
Does our flesh feel quite at home.
“The quote is from Auden. Perhaps you can relate. That we experience this dual attraction towards the security of peace and the ecstasy of danger eloquently illustrates our unsettled condition. In his 1998 essay, A Taste for Danger, Theodore Dalrymple maps out the phenomenon nicely. He opens with reflections on a gallery display of Vietnam-era photojournalism:
“These photographers hated the war, but they loved it too: for it gave meaning to their lives or at the very least provided a temporary relief from those nagging questions about the meaning of life that even the most complacent of us sometimes ask…
“Dalrymple goes on to describe his own experience working in conflict zones and the difficult withdrawals that follow an addiction to personal peril:
“The problem with having lived too long or too frequently in dangerous situations is that one ceases to care very much about the actual content of the existence one is so anxious to preserve. Danger absolves one of the need to deal with a thousand quotidian problems or to make a thousand little choices, each one unimportant. Danger simplifies existence and therefore…comes as a relief from many anxieties.
“This business of daily life can be rather dull, can’t it? Peace is uninteresting. It’s a crime we should ever find it so, but sometimes we do. Worse, when we lack for outward threats we tend to manufacture them: spiritual or intellectual crises, superfluous interpersonal conflicts, flirtations with sin. And when these manufactured dangers fail to satisfy we borrow threats and conflicts from others through gossip, consumption of sensationalized media and mass entertainments.
“Boredom, lust for distraction and attraction to danger are, more often than not, sins born of myopia. Corrective lenses are available. But these are very old temptations, so deeply rooted in the soil of our social and personal lives that it’s difficult to imagine where we might be without them. Perhaps a certain garden in the east.”
Galen’s Thoughts: it has been said that 20th and 21st century Americans are the most bored people in earth’s history. The word, boredom, wasn’t even in use much (if at all) until the last century. Isn’t it interesting that boredom came upon the scene with humanism, modernism, relativism and the great scientific explosion? Up until those things happened, people would contemplate and posit God as the central aspect and concern of existence. Sadly, when God “disappeared” from social consciousness and discourse, we became self-centered as a species, and we became myopic (strange how that word starts with “my”, isn’t it?). Can we turn our focus back to God, away from self? Not fully in this life. We can’t go back to the garden in the east, but we can journey to the garden in heaven, where the Tree of Life will once more be found and enjoyed.
PRAYER: Lord, may we not become disinterested in the actual content of existence and those who inhabit this realm with us. May we not be so myopic that we fail to see the greater picture and cause outside of our own lives. May our meaning, here and in eternity, be found in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>