Early Morning Meditations from Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

I was up early this morning – too early.  I was awakened by one of my “vocation dreams” where I imagine doing something new and different in my life and then wake myself up analyzing if it is possible.

Today, there was no going back to sleep, so I decided to look for a decent documentary on Netflix.  It took some searching, but I found one called Merton: A Film Biography.

Thomas Merton was many things in his life.  A little French boy of artistic parents, orphaned by age 15.  A bright, yet carousing student at Cambridge, then Columbia.  A Roman Catholic convert, received into the Cistercian order at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.  A hard-working Trappist monk devoted to the contemplative life of prayer.  A poet and philosopher who sought to bring healing to a desperately wounded society.  A hermit who found in Buddhist writings and friendships companionship for a Christian walk.  A spiritual pilgrim who bridged the distance between East and West.

There have been many things written by and about Thomas Merton.  To dig deeper, I encourage you to visit the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University (I think I may take a pilgrimage myself there soon).  For today, I simply want to share with you a few of Merton’s own words (and a prayer) to challenge and inspire you – as they have me.

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.  (source unknown)

The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.    (from The Seven Storey Mountain)

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.    (from Thoughts in Solitude)

(photo of Thomas Merton from Wesley Ramey in People I Admire)

Who Do I Have To Sleep With To Get Freshly Pressed?: 5 Press-Worthy Posts

Angry_man by Gallivanting Gai

Know this – I am a moralist.  Some describe me as a neo-Puritan (to my face – God only knows what they call me behind my back).

But I am also a pragmatist.  I like to understand how things work so I can get what I want.  I don’t like beating around the bush.  Some say life is a journey, not a destination.  Well, I’m not big on journeys.  Give me a Star Trek teleporter and I’m good to go.

I started this blog – originally called Will Write For Food (and maybe dental) in December of last year.  For fours months, I’ve been slaving daily over this laptop (sitting in my electric recliner, listening to John Prine radio on Spotify).  I’ve been cranking out stories and poems,  book reviews and cultural essays, engaging in writing exercises and linking to intriguing sites.  Sure, I’ve won my share of awards – the Inspiring Blogger, the ABC award, the Liebster (just to name a few).  I’ve received some helpful and favorable comments and been “liked” a great deal.

But….

Not once have I been Freshly Pressed.

So, I ask you – what does a guy have to do?

I mean, just consider these 5 particular posts (quoted below) –

On Becoming a Gay Brit

Why, just the idea of going to the local pub for a pint to cheer on a group of footballers who are really playing soccer and screaming “Bloody, Bloody, Bloody!” (without it really seeming like profanity) would be a thrilling way to spend an afternoon.

“Tantalizing Titles for Top-Selling Books”

Jonathon Livingston Seagull Contracts the Avian Flu

In his pursuit of perfection, Jonathon learns that even adorable fictitious seagulls are only human.  While living in a commune with a gaggle of positive-thinking bird lovers, Jonathon contracts the flu from a flock of chickens.  Within weeks, the community is decimated.  The chickens survive long enough to be made into McNuggets.

Cold War Carl and Democrat Don Diagnose the World’s Problems (Episode One: Mental Illness)

Carl:  Well, I’m just an ignorant Kentuckian with a 6th grade education, but if you ask me, the world has gotten too complicated.  What with all the technology.  People going here and going there.  All stressed out.  I think the Amish have the right idea.

Don:  I don’t know about that.  But it is true that with technology the way it is, the world has become a smaller place.  They’ve got videos set up everywhere.   Why, I’m sure they’re filming us here right now.

Carl:  You bet they are.  It’s the Russians.

Don:  It isn’t the Russians.  It’s the Republicans.

Tuna Fish Friday (a prompted poem)

Are you sure today isn’t Friday?”

We had meatloaf yesterday.

We have meatloaf on Thursdays.

And we had meatloaf yesterday

And Bingo.

We always play Bingo on Friday.

And we just played Bingo.

Are you sure today isn’t Friday?

I’m sure this is Friday.

I’m as sure as I’m sitting here.

I’m as sure as day is day.

And night is night.

Today is definitely Friday.

But this sure as hell isn’t tuna fish.

“My Top 10 Anti-Resolutions for 2013”

9.  I will not go to the Super Bowl, sit behind the goal post and wave a placard with ”Habbakuk 2:16b” on it.   { ”Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed…”}.

8.  I will not personally disprove the Big Bang theory.

6.  I will not petition the Vatican to make folk singer John Prine a saint.  He has been divorced and remarried (at least once).  He is not Roman Catholic.  And neither am I.

3.  I will not comment on a blog post written by a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband by correcting her grammar. {“i (I)  m (am) so sad(.) he (He) wus (was)my life.}”   I will also not ask her out on a date.

So, who do I have to sleep with to be Freshly Pressed?  Those of you who have been there, how about you?

(image above “Angry man” from Gallivanting Gai)

My Top 10 Anti-Resolutions for 2013

10.  I will not eat the food left over in my refrigerator from our Thanksgiving meal.

Time to clean out the work fridge.

(from akeg, some rights reserved)

9.  I will not go to the Super Bowl, sit behind the goal post and wave a placard with “Habbakuk 2:16b” on it.

 { “Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed…”}

8.  I will not personally disprove the Big Bang theory.

church sign

(from mikecogh, some rights reserved)

7.  I will not hide shoes behind books in the Goodwill store so I can get them for half-price on the first Saturday of the month.

goodwill sign

(from revger, some rights reserved)

6.  I will not petition the Vatican to make folk singer John Prine a saint.  He has been divorced and remarried (at least once).  He is not Roman Catholic.  And neither am I.

john prine

(from wfuv, some rights reserved)

5.  I will not react so enthusiastically to my discovery of what “meggins” are that I go out and buy some.  (see Matt Robb’s post)

tight pants

(from Tricia Wang 王圣捷, some rights reserved)

4.  I will not enter any writing contest where the entry fee exceeds the top prize.

writing contest

(from thepocnews, some rights reserved)

3.  I will not comment on a blog post written by a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband by correcting her grammar.  (Or, asking her out on a date.)

i (I)  m (am) so sad(.) he (He) wus (was)my life.

2.  I will not use parentheses excessively…

(unless I absolutely must whisper something in the reader’s ear.)

1.  I will not pursue a Marketing Internship for the Hoosier Lottery (though I may submit the slogan “Be a Real Loser – Play the Lottery” for free).

lottery

(from chicagogeek, some rights reserved)

 

(Inspired by a writing prompt from Today’s Authors)