Tonight was a rare and pleasant evening. Classical style Christmas music was playing; the house was decorated. The wife was reading a book and a magazine; the mariner, frankly, was dozing. And outside bitter temperatures and blowing snow kept us where we were. We made a cherry pie and watched a couple of television shows.
Has the reader had many evenings of this type? It’s difficult to set the mood as passively as we were blessed.
The fact of the matter is that our American culture has stepped faster a few paces with information available from computers, electronic games, Skype, smart phones, email, retail marketing online, texting, and as if there were time to fill, social media. Even against the onslaught of data and electronic socializing, the roads are too slick to permit much traffic so shopping is thin this evening. Stay at home and warm the keyboard . . .
What was rare this evening was the direct link to ourselves without being conscious of a responsibility or compulsion to draw us to a social function or task requiring an electronic partner. Go back a couple of generations and we likely will not visit grandma in Florida because there are no interstates. Go back another couple generations; we’ll be harnessing the carriage to see grandma six miles down the road.
Then within fifteen years – the time a child attends secondary school – from horse, carriage and plow to automobile, to airplane, from carriage to trains on rail and steamboats at sea. And movies.
The pleasant evening leads the mariner to a pondering: Any of us can go to our own collection of books, or to a library, or wherever, and pull out dozens and dozens of books by philosophers, theologians, psychiatrists, etc. that firmly advocate what Joseph Campbell called a blissful spot. It’s a place that belongs only to you. Though not intended specifically, the wife and mariner had a blissful experience. It was a nice experience; it may even be called therapeutic, giving us a shot of grace and fortitude to reenter our challenging environment next time.
There is a great deal of commotion, challenge, Frenzy, and diversion in our lives every single day. In the opportune moment of this holiday season, gift yourself with an hour or two all your own to remember who you are, why you are and to restore the battery of fortitude.