Today is April 7, 2017
Despair is a room in my house. I don’t go there: I find myself IN there. So far, I have come out again. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this.
On Saturday, April 1, I found myself in there. It’s a fading-out kind of room, containing a bed. There are windows but not windows to be looked out of. Their purpose is to remind you that you’re in the room. You turn away from their crepuscular light and scrunch into your fade-away mode. The thing you desire most is to get rid of your consciousness and give yourself over to what Bishop Paget, in his sermon on acedia describes as “the things hiding and busy in the darker passages of our heart.”
Then you sleep and sleep. When you reach a point where you FAIL to sleep, you may cry out for help. When no help comes(or maybe it did come), you think of one small thing that needs to be done. For me, on April 3, the small thing was to go outside and clip my fingernails.
As I was composing this blog in my head, I thought, “Too bad Bishop Paget’s little book, The Sorrow of the World (1891)is not in print. It has come to my aid, or at least shifted my thoughts, since I was in my twenties.” But then I went online and found that the University of Michigan has issued a high-quality reprint. And furthermore, as recently as 2017, Hansebooks, which resurrects historical literature, has re-issued all his sermons under the title The Spirit of Discipline. The sermon titles are irresistible: “The disasters of Shallowness,” “The Perils of a Vacant Heart.” I ordered a copy.