Category Archives: Life

For Want of Wonder (Part 2)

In which Chesterton destroys the cynic and the sentimentalist:

I’ve already talked a little about the wonder that pervades Chesterton’s writing — it should be easy as pie to see how such wonder is a death knell to cynicism. (It’s hard to grouse about the glass being half empty when the very existence of the glass and its contents amazes you.) But if the right kind of wonder is a death knell to cynicism, it’s also a death knell to mawkish optimism. Reading Chesterton, you’re reminded to keep your eyes open as wide as you possibly can. You see the beauty and the ugliness. The trick is remembering which one wins.

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This is something of a tribute. I hate mawkishness, so Lord willing there won’t be any of that here. But I also think Capon was onto something when he said “man was made to lead with his chin; he is worth knowing only with his guard down, his head up and his heart rampant on his sleeve.” Here is my sleeve. Make of it what you will.

The past four weeks have been their own kind of Hades. No need for details. They just have been. At the beginning, it felt like the world was turned very suddenly and nastily upside down; still does, to some extent. I was lucky, though. Scratch that. (I’m a good Presbyterian and we don’t believe in luck.) I was blessed. Am blessed. I have family. I have friends. The very best of both.

When you fall, these are the kind of people you want your body to land on. They’ll catch it, carry it. Wipe the blood off your face, and the tears, too. Love the hell out of you. Assure you that life, in fact, goes on, because the Storyteller is still telling this story and always has been. They’re good people like that.

I have a brother, two years my junior. We’re kind of inseparable; at least, I like to think so. The thing about brothers is, sometimes you don’t realize how close you are until one of you has to help the other pick pieces of himself up off the ground. Times like these, it hits you: you’d kill for this guy at the drop of a hat, and you know – you know, as certainly as you know anything – he’d do the same for you.

Another thing about brothers (or at least, about my brother): they seem to know instinctively that sometimes just being there is better than a dozen words, however well-intentioned. People tend to overlook this simple truth, but there it is. Sometimes all that’s needed, or wanted, is a gentle slap on the back. An acknowledgement that, Hey, you don’t have to talk, but I’m here all the same. Just sitting is cool. Brothers know this. Brothers know the therapeutic benefits of laughter and wrestling and blowing stuff up in Borderlands 2.

So I guess this is my way of saying thank you, broski. Hope I didn’t embarrass you too much. Always gold, right?

P.S. No matter how big you get, I’ll always be bigger, and fully capable of kicking your ass. Just a reminder.


August 26th, 2013 – Wake up. Drive to the hospital. Get anesthetized. “Sleep” while doctors cut a surgically-implanted steel bar out of my chest.

August 26th, 2014 – Wake up. Enjoy a cup of Yorkshire Gold and the conversation of good friends around the breakfast table. Work 9 to 5 on a prospering internship.

God is good.

“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are. Life may sometimes legitimately appear as a book of science. Life may sometimes appear, and with a much greater legitimacy, as a book of metaphysics. But life is always a novel. Our existence may cease to be a song; it may cease even to be a beautiful lament. Our existence may not be an intelligible justice, or even a recognizable wrong. But our existence is still a story. In the fiery alphabet of every sunset is written, ‘to be continued in our next.’” – G.K. Chesterton

Seeds and Rot

“Your father made mistakes. We all do. But instead of working to set things right, he chose to protect those mistakes – he let them be. He even fed them, which made them so much worse. Mistakes don’t just hang on the wall like ugly pictures. Mistakes are seeds.” He thumped his chest. “In here. They grow. They take over. You make a mistake, you gotta make it right. Dig that seed out. Old Wiz used to say, ‘Fruit rots, wood rots, but lazy-ass boys rot the fastest.”

– N.D. Wilson, Boys of Blur (pp. 50-51)