Wonder & Whimsy: Prayer, Poetry & Habit

A weekly curation of quotations I come across in my reading life (or on random condiment jars) — from the inspirational to the miscellaneous. Perhaps one inspires you or catches your fancy too…

How to approach prayer today…

“In our petitions we will receive more by sighs than by speech, more by tears than by words.”

(The “Response” to the second reading in the OOR in the Liturgy of the Hours for today)

From St. Robert Southwell’s poem “Content and Rich”…

“I dwell in Grace’s court,

Enriched with Virtue’s rights;

Faith guides my wit, Love leads my will,

Hope all my mind delights.”

Are we living as God intended us?

“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” (St. Irenaeus)

The power and role of habit…

“Education is the formation of habits.”

“Habit is 10 natures.”

— Charlotte Mason (Home Education, Vol. 1, pt. 3)

Can we talk?

I was burning through Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book (One Beautiful Dream) a couple of weeks ago (very good, by the way!), but there was one place in the book that I paused for a minute to think, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Fulwiler was describing her regular conversations with a friend that lived locally at the time, and she said this: “We talked on the phone every day.” I put the book down. I thought for a minute about why that sentence sounded foreign to me, and a realization materialized that has been bothering me for quite awhile…

I rarely talk to my friends on the phone anymore.

When we are not hanging out in person, the trend is for us to text each other. I was suddenly aware of a phenomenon in my life that I greatly disliked, a pattern of behavior that had normalized itself within my relationships — perhaps with well-meaning intentions — and now dictates both the intimacy of my friendships and the frequency of conversations with those friends.

I thought back to a decade ago, before texting became standard protocol for regular communication with family and friends, when it was normal to have a phone conversation with a friend be part of my day. As I sat there, letting this realization hit me, I felt sad. I realized that I don’t like the status quo, and I would be willing to bet that many of you don’t like it either.

Now, I know some people’s defenses might be going up here, and you might be thinking: Oh, no. Here goes one of those anti-technology/anti-texting posts. Fear not. I find texting to be practical and useful for many quick points of connection in our daily lives (i.e., needed items from the store, double checking dates/times, quick answers, etc.), but I think we have definitely allowed quick connections to replace meaningful conversations.

Texting friends for a purpose that is text-appropriate makes good sense, but it has proved hard to prevent that format from replacing the need to have a conversation with a friend. The thing is…we have fooled ourselves into thinking that we are having conversations at all. Sherry Turkle unpacks this astounding trend in her 2016 book Reclaiming Conversation.

You might ask: Okay, what is the big deal here? We all lead busy lives, and we have a lot of stuff going on. Isn’t it good that we are doing these daily quick check-ins with friends? We are keeping “connected.” Isn’t that better than going a couple of weeks without seeing each other? Continue reading “Can we talk?”

Wonder & Whimsy: Reading, Creativity & Nature

A weekly curation of quotations I come across in my reading life (or on random condiment jars) — from the inspirational to the miscellaneous. Perhaps one inspires you or catches your fancy too…

Are you utilizing the gift of literacy that you have been given?

“A man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” — Mark Twain

If you are feeling stretched too much…

“You can’t be creative in all directions at once.” — Flannery O’Connor (Habit of Being, p. 243)

G. K. Chesterton:

“If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made essential and godliness is regarded as an offense.” (From an essay entitled “On Lying in Bed”)

Call to nature:

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” — Charlotte Mason (Home Education, Vol. 1, pt. 2, ch. 1)