Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sitting on My Perch: a Personal Reflection

Recently, as I looked out across the landscape of my little life here in Oklahoma, across this state and diocese, across the historical timeline of my own life and the last several decades, across the crisis in the Church that deepens every day even in our own backyard, I actually became very acutely aware of something.  Something I've noticed before, but not given much attention.

That something is that when I think and talk and write about life and society and church, in my mind's eye I am often "sitting on my perch" looking down on it all.

VantagePointPost-1080x675.jpg (1080×675)


What do I mean?  Imagine sitting on a branch in a tree looking down on people.  You have a distant, imperial vantage point in your mind to look down on everything and make judgments and prognostications.



For example, imagine this historical timeline:


1900------------1950----Vatican II, etc-------2017



I know every mind is unique and has its own ways of imagining and conceptualizing.  I often literally imagine this timeline in my mind.  And it is like I am perched up above it looking down from a distance, judging and prognosticating.  

We do have to step back and look over things objectively. When monks take their afternoon walk up the hill to look down on their monastic grounds, it affords them a brief retreat to look at their life from a different vantage point, the advantage being a moment of calm recollection.


But folks, I must confess I too often perch up high looking down.  There's wisdom to be gained, but its also dangerous.


We see so little from even the highest spots, with the highest IQs, and with the most information.  We see so little.  But we (I) pretend to see so much.


There's an awesome power and talent in being able to rise above events and geography and look out across it all with logic and vision.  Perhaps traditional Catholics, especially those who read and think a lot, as it seems we often do, have that ability, but its a powerful, potentially harmful gift, if we are not humble in our intellect.  And the older and more aged I get, the more I realize I need to spend more time on the ground.


Am I making sense?  What are your thoughts?

2 comments:

  1. You sound spot on. But how to get the best of both worlds? How to be able to look down from the mountain at one moment, but then later on, be able to be down in the trenches with the regulars?

    Myself, when I'm not involving myself in intellectual pursuits, I'm working in an emergency room. But I wouldn't recommend that for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its tough to balance if you're like me.
    To quote Bauhaus "small talk stinks".
    I agree that everyone one of us should spend more time reflecting and listening.
    In my spare time I enjoy learning and reading others thoughts and takes on events/history.
    Its difficult for me to be around normal people and act like a normal person.

    ReplyDelete