Ennui

“I hate feelings. I hate them!” said the person who feels them so intensely.

The feelings we hate are the ones that drive us into the dark corners and the basements of the psyche. The only thing worse than being in the grip of sorrow or grief is to feel nothing, or fool oneself into believing that the feelings aren’t there.

Ennui – a listless weariness and boredom – describes this hell.

Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, I listen to all the shouting of our time and feel that I’ve been there before. I prefer not to feel the loss of belief in history as the inevitable upward bend of progress. Listening to the sounds of ignorant armies clashing by night is not good for my sanity. I prefer ennui to constant turmoil, and, in the midst of ennui, I have nothing to say of any worth. No great word of hope.

“All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
or the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”
-Ecclesiastes, 1:8-9.

In times like these I go through periods of great sadness and move into the protective shell of ennui. Then something like Odetta’s version of “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child” breaks through again to the feelings I hate. Is it sometimes good to hate?

You should be ashamed of yourself!

Ever want to say OUT LOUD how you REALLY FEEL and why … without self-censorship?

Carolyn sent this to every Senator who voted against “gun safety” in the U.S. Senate.

Gun SAFETY

The Second Amendment to the Constitution was written by men whose notion of “gun” was a musket needing reloading after each shot.

With your recent votes on gun safety, you represented the interests of manufacturers of guns and ammunition, and voted against the safety of Americans, as well as against the expressed wish of 84% of us. You also spit on 26 graves in Newtown, CT, and on those of many, many thousands of other victims of gun violence.

You put forth high sounding phrases, and tell lies about the effects of the bills, but we know that your sole motivation was and is to keep collecting legalized but still immoral bribes from the gun manufacturers and to keep the votes of those few Americans who either think serious differences of opinions are best resolved by violence or threats of violence, or the subcategory who think they some day may need to solve differences of opinion with our democratically elected government by armed insurrection — that is, treason.

To be sure, very many (not all) Senators bury their dead consciences before taking the oath of office, and you are clearly one of the many who did. Therefore it behooves me to remind you that you should be heartily ashamed of yourself.

Carolyn and I went to Kindergarten together. Our families were closest of friends. She is now retired from the University of Pennsylvania Music Library, well-versed in the do’s and don’ts of ascribing motives. Carolyn is also VERY polite; her speech is routinely moderate and carefully considered, but she decided on this one to throw caution to the wind.

“I’m certain it changed no minds,” said Carolyn’s email to me, “but it was a relief to me somehow to ‘tell them off.’

“I sometimes quarrel with myself about things in it like ascribing motive — “…we know…”. But it certainly is how I feel. …[T]hen I reassure myself — there are many who make the same assumption. What’s more, I think it is a fair one.”

When you look at the fact that the 45 U.S. Senators who voted against “gun safety” received in excess of $8,000,000 in campaign contributions from the NRA and gun manufacturers, it’s hard not to go where Carolyn went. These Senators know that the Second Amendment would not have been breached by the bill sponsored by their two courageous Senate colleagues who chose to do the right thing despite their A ratings from the NRA.

I Live with doubt

I live with doubt

A hymn by Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, In honor of John Newton (1725-1807), author of “Amazing Grace.”

I live with doubt:  my faith is weak,
Dark clouds are what I see.
A God of love is all I seek,
Can such a good God be?

The world is full of greed and lies,
Of war and talk of war.
Can any savior hear my cries
And hope and peace restore?

When Jesus met the man born blind,
He touched his eyes with clay.
He bid him wash and he did find
His sight and a new day,

The sun breaks through, I see ahead
My task to feed the poor.
I still have doubts, but grace instead
Of fear I feel much more!

My thoughts and feelings come and go
Like sun dissolves the snow;
But God is firm, and now I see,
That God has faith in me.
Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac”posting on the anniversary of the birthday of John Newton, converted slave ship captain, prompted Steve to write these stanzas in honor of the author of “Amazing Grace.” ┬áSteve’s hymn can be sung to the same tune. The meter is the same.