"It's been a stunning time for us adults. It always is. Nothing is new, but it's fresh for every new crop of people. What is eternally fresh is our grief. What is eternally fresh is our astonishment. What is eternally fresh is our question: What the Sam Hill is going on here?
Is anyone running this show? Is some Fate carefully placing earthquakes on our one planet? Does an intelligence fix the height, speed, and angle of waves? Does Omnipotence hurl hurricanes, point tornadoes, plant plagues? We could not find anyone to make a credible case for any of these brain-snarling positions.
After all, we in the West hold the individual precious. Do we not? Or does an individual's value weaken with the square distance, like the force of gravity?
We eat at restaurants while people weaken and starve everywhere, sons or daughters all. We vote as equal persons. Some monks train themselves out of bias for family members. Monks don't have children. You and I, then, are just two of seven-plus billion people of supreme significance. "Head-Spinning Numbers Cause Minds to Go Slack" read one newspaper headline. Surely we agree that our minds must not go slack.
A British journalist, observing the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, reasoned: ' Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other." For
'sacred' substitute 'of great value' or whatever you want, and look for flaws in his logic. He meant, of course, human life." - Annie Dillard
They are fighting again the war to end war,
and the ewe flock, bred in October, brings forth
in March. This so far remains, this pain
and renewal, whatever war is being fought.
We go through the annual passage of birth
and death, triumph and heartbreak, love
and exasperation, mud, milk, mucus, and blood.
Yet once more the young ewe stands with her lambs
in the downright, the lambs well-suckled
and dry. There is no happiness like this.
The window again welcomes the light
of lengthening days. The river in its old groove
passes again beneath the opening leaves.
In their brevity, between cold and shade,
flowers again brighten the woods floor.
This then may be the prayer without ceasing,
this beauty and gratitude, this moment.
Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent
BY JOHN MILTON
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”