superficial life Thoreau
‘When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters proud of his extensive correspondence has not heard from himself this long while.” Henry David Thoreau, The Essential Thoreau
My spiritual director sent this to me today. Most of us do not go to the post office, and letter writing is becoming a lost art, but we are now judged by how many Facebook friends we have! I am a Facebook fan to keep informed about family and friends, but a Facebook message is very different from a phone call or a visit or conversation over a meal. This is where we can share what is really going on with us. This is where we may bare our soul and look for the Christ in our friend and hope that the Christ within us will guide us. Actual meeting with spiritual friends is not optional for the inner life, the life of the soul.
Even better is meeting over a meal. Nourishing out bodies mysteriously opens up our mind to nourish the soul. Here is where we see Christ in each other and maybe even get a little glimpse of the Christ in ourselves. I was in a pediatric radiology medical group for over 30 years. We each had our own agenda and our areas of expertise. We were having difficulty making decisions and seeing the importance of each other’s plans. We decided to meet for lunch once a week. It took a while, but miracles happened. We began to look at each other’s ideas in a different light. One mystery of the meal is that it nourished us into forming a community.