Where I have been recently the sunsets in the evenings rival the sunsets in the deserts of Iraq. Unless you are blind I do not understand how you could be unmoved. Well, that is not true, I suppose. I do understand how someone could be unmoved, but the reason for that has nothing to do with his eyesight. It’s not a physical problem but a spiritual one.
Though I tend to go back to the original sources (ad fontes) in my reading habits, there are some men so important, so wise, so enduring, that it is unwise to not read some solid biographies of them and their oeuvre, in addition to their own works. G.K. Chesterton is one such figure. His mind and pen sliced through the pomp of intellectual pretense. His witticisms often surpass those of H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain.
What does this have to do with golden sunsets in November? Chesterton knew that this world (and all of us creatures within it), though fallen, is charged with the fingerprints of God. The staunchest secularist does not look at his child and think, “What an accidental result of time, matter, and chance. Why should I love you?” Um, no. Listen to this zinger from Chesterton:
“A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels. In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.”
In other words, creation is worthy of wonder because it attests to its Creator. Since the book of creatures is beautiful, how much more beautiful is its Author.
I appreciate the ability to express ourselves through the internet and various media outlets. That ability can be a huge blessing. In times of separation from loved ones, I’ve nothing but praise for FaceTime and WhatsApp, for example. They can lessen the loneliness of being separated due to work, deployment, etc. But when one gets to a place where he substitutes distraction for depth, he has forfeited the good things involving depth, beauty, and wisdom for shallowness, distraction, and kitsch.
Thanks, G.K. You saw things. More importantly, you understood why we are to see things. That makes all the difference.