Silence and solitude

In this age of instant celebrity, regardless of merit (or lack of it), of Facebook and Twitter by which everyone imagines himself a star, of publicly airing views without contemplation or discipline, when people's actions and thoughts are disjointed and incoherent, when the fake is preferred over the real thing, in an age when unrestrained displays of emotion is the norm, one can sometimes think that the lunatics have taken control of the asylum. These words, however, do provide some solace that a little sanity is still out there:

"When you keep going anxiously to the mailbox in the hope that someone 'out there' has thought about you; when you keep wondering if and what your friends are thinking of you; when you keep having hidden desires to be a somewhat exceptional person in this community; when you keep having fantasies about guests mentioning your name; when you keep looking for special attention from the abbot or any one of the monks; when you keep hoping for more interesting work and more stimulating events – then you know that you haven’t even started to create a little place for God in your heart.

When nobody writes anymore; when hardly anyone even thinks of you or wonders how you are doing; when you are just one of the brothers doing the same things as they are doing, not better or worse; when you have been forgotten by people – maybe then your heart and mind have become empty enough to give God a real chance to let his presence be known to you." (from The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen)