Travel Light

Painting by Teun Hocks

Possessions are only the traveling luggage of time; they are not the stuff of eternity. It would be sensible therefore to travel light.

~ John Stott

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Most Precious Thing

I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.

–George MacDonald, David Elginbrod

Truths Ancient and Simple

The process of living seems to consist in coming to realise truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, the sound like barren platitudes. They cannot sound otherwise to those who have not had the relevant experience: that is why there is no real teaching of such truths possible and every generation starts from scratch.

CS Lewis

Authority and Liberty

In short, the case for a sort of general guidance from the start is to be found in the fact that the road is beset with traps and temptations to the loss of liberty. There are not only pitfalls, but bottomless pits; there are not only mazes, but mazes without a center. That is why I, for one, believe in the philosophy of providing a map of the road, with all the blind alleys and broken roads marked on it from the first. But that is not in order that men should not be free to walk the roads, but rather that they should walk the roads on which they will remain free. And until this distinction is understood the modern debate about authority and liberty will not have ended, for it will not even have begun.

Chesterton – September 15, 1923

The Land of the Giants

There is an apostolic injunction to suffer fools gladly. We always lay the stress on the word “suffer,” and interpret the passage as one urging resignation. It might be better, perhaps, to lay the stress upon the word “gladly,” and make our familiarity with fools a delight, and almost a dissipation. Nor is it necessary that our pleasure in fools (or at least in great and godlike fools) should be merely satiric or cruel. The great fool is he in whom we cannot tell which is the conscious and which the unconscious humour; we laugh with him and laugh at him at the same time. An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of everlasting joke. Each has discovered that the other is a fool, but a great fool. This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect. When we know an individual named Tomkins, we know that he has succeeded where all others have failed; he has succeeded in being Tomkins. Just so Mr. Toots succeeded; he was defeated in all scholastic examinations, but he was the victor in that visionary battle in which unknown competitors vainly tried to be Toots.

If we are to look for lessons, here at least is the last and deepest lesson of Dickens. It is in our own daily life that we are to look for the portents and the prodigies. This is the truth, not merely of the fixed figures of our life; the wife, the husband, the fool that fills the sky. It is true of the whole stream and substance of our daily experience; every instant we reject a great fool merely because he is foolish. Every day we neglect Tootses and Swivellers, Guppys and Joblings, Simmerys and Flashers. Every day we lose the last sight of Jobling and Chuckster, the Analytical Chemist, or the Marchioness. Every day we are missing a monster whom we might easily love, and an imbecile whom we should certainly admire.

This is the real gospel of Dickens; the inexhaustible opportunities offered by the liberty and the variety of man. Compared with this life, all public life, all fame, all wisdom, is by its nature cramped and cold and small. For on that defined and lighted public stage men are of necessity forced to profess one set of accomplishments, to rise to one rigid standard. It is the utterly unknown people who can grow in all directions like an exuberant tree. It is in our interior lives that we find that people are too much themselves. It is in our private life that we find them swelling into the enormous contours, and taking on the colours of caricature. Many of us live publicly with featureless public puppets, images of the small public abstractions. It is when we pass our own private gate, and open our own secret door, that we step into the land of the giants.

–Charles Dickens, by G. K. Chesterton