Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Outward Face of Cynicism

I have never scoffed at sentiment. Cynicism is ever the outward face of emptiness. What, after all is romance? It is the music of those who make the world turn. The people who make things happen. Romance is the story of dreams that could come true and so often do . . . Why do men ride the range? Go to sea? Explore the icecaps . . . It is because of romance, because of the stories they have read and the stories they dreamed. ~ Louis L'Amour

Shocking how a succession of deep wounds and disappointments - both physical and spiritual - compressed into a brief time span can hammer away at the bedrock of one's soul and slyly replace each ding and chip with emptiness. Reading L'Amour's words distilled the inquiry that had been trying to organize in the depth of my heart for several hours . . .

Have I lost the heart of the romantic . . . the heart so willing to risk, explore, adventure, and dream big?


Seams and stratum that make up the ledges in me have been slowly degrading and becoming brittle and porous like limestone. Music in my spirit as of late is often discordant and in the melancholy of minor keys. I speak of life in the context of Faith . . .

Scoffing at sentimentality . . . my own

Despising and disowning my love of the romantic - rather than setting my jaw like flint and embracing the fact that I don't want to live safe and secure - exposed my disenchanted, disillusioned, and fatigued soul.

Introspection at such a gut level began shortly after arriving at the cabin. Canvas chair and journal under one arm, I stood perusing the bookshelves for a potential muse. There were the green spines of the Harvard Classics with the philosophy and poetry of history's most prolific authors bound between their covers. Grouped together on another shelf were eclectic volumes covering a wide array of disciplines. Hardbound and paperback books on outdoor survival, astronomy, field guides to North American wild life, compass reading, hiking the Appalachian trail, and stacks of the National Geographic. Novels on yet another.

A muse I had been seeking - muses I found. Authors as diverse as John Steinbeck, John Eldridge, John Meir, John Dunn, Jack London, G.K. Chesterton, Cormack McCarthy, C.S. Lewis, Least-Heat Moon, Annie Dillard, Dostoyevsky, Brennan Manning, and the Holy Spirit (Bible) were evoking memories of evenings spent reading by flashlight and firelight . . . or anticipating lecturing in China . . . of romanticising a hundred adventures yet to be lived.

Cynicism the outward face of emptiness . . . would not be mine.

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