When I was a child, I lived in fear. Now that I’m a man, I’m learning — slowly, it sometimes seems — how to act out of love; love for my friend, love for my neighbor, love for myself. Love grounded in particulars, freed from the burden of empty rhetoric. Love that honors the dignity and complexity of every person I meet.
The real answer is that I choose books over the internet and social media. I choose to read books rather than browse Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. I choose books over blogs and forums and e-mail. The answer is not finding the time, it’s choosing how to spend it. Instead of going online frequently, I put limits on my social media time in favor of moderation. At the end of the day, for me, reading a book is more edifying and better for my well-being than reading through social media posts or falling down rabbit holes online. For me, it’s about putting the phone down and choosing something else. There is enough time for things we value.
I have, in other words, no desire to go back in history. But I do yearn to see trees with greater clarity. I want to see them as my fellow creatures, called into existence by God, with a dignity and significance all their own. I want to realize that at the creation they were made to be trees, for God’s glory, and they have done so — it is my race of creatures that refuses to abide by God’s word. I want to know more about chlorophyll and cambium layers and see in them glimpses of glory that shine with hints of a transcendent power beyond my knowing.
We didn't totally understand what Communion was. At least I didn’t. If it was magical to the Catholics, literally becoming body, and blood, and meaningless to atheists, a bizarre religious ritual, I suppose I fell somewhere in between. We read no books about Communion, took no classes to prepare, made no declarations of faith besides the act itself. Now I see the act is its own declaration, its own remembrance. But I didn't know then.
When I was young, it struck me as strange that my father enjoyed giving so much, but years later, I am finally beginning to understand. He has become so accustomed to the thrill of working alongside his heavenly father to care for the needs of others that temporal goods have lost hold on his affections. As the earthly tent wears thin, he sees with ever increasing clarity the bountiful riches of God’s economy. One day, I hope that I will see it too.