This is one of those mornings when I’m running behind, feeling distracted and uninspired, and usually decide to move on before I write anything. I’ll grab a cookie and another cup of coffee and read more, or go for a walk, take a shower, and do some housework. “I’ll write later.” I say to myself, but never do.
But not this time.
Today, I’ll share a couple of things even though, right at this moment, they don’t seem all that awesome.
First off, I’m 358 pages into Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, 12 hours of reading, and I’m lost again. Just when I feel like I have my feet on the ground, Trotsky goes off on a tangent (or the revolution does) and I have no idea what’s going on. Maybe that was the problem. They didn’t either. Tzarists, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Social Democrats, Soviets, proletarians, bourgeoisie, committees, the list goes on and on. I have no idea what group aligns with who, who is leading what, or what direction they want to go. It’s a big giant mess. Revolutions usually are.
Can you imagine living through this? I can’t. I realized today as I’m reading that all of this is going on right in the middle of World War II. Jeepers.
It also doesn’t help much that words used by Trotsky in 1932 don’t have the same meaning as they do today. Words like liberal, conservative, soviet, and socialist have all evolved. Here’s one I found fascinating this morning:
“Chauvinism, of course, must serve as their political bond with the soldiers.”
How would holding the door open for them or paying the dinner bill help? Wait…that’s chivalry. Clearly, as Inigo says in The Princess Bride, I do not think that word means what you think it means. I had to look it up.
- Militant devotion to and glorification of one’s country; fanatical patriotism.
- Prejudiced belief in the superiority of one’s own gender, group, or kind.
- The sentiments of a chauvin; enthusiastic, unreflecting devotion to any cause; especially, absurdly exaggerated patriotism or military enthusiasm.
I did not know that! At the link, you’ll find the etymology of the word. You learn something new every day!
The other little thing I wanted to share with you was a quote I read in The Sun magazine while I ate my breakfast this morning:
“Abbot Mark once said to Abbot Arsenius: It is good, is it not, to have nothing in your cell that just gives you pleasure? For example, once I knew a brother who had a little wildflower that came up in his cell, and he pulled it out by the roots. Well, said Abbot Arsenius, that is all right. But each man should act according to his own spiritual way. And if one were not able to get along without the flower, he should plant it again.” From Reading from the Desert Fathers at the Laundromat by Robbie Gamble
How’s that grab ya? Let’s all “act according to our own spiritual way” and leave others to theirs.
PS LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Sun Magazine. I get an actual printed magazine in my mailbox every month…you read that right. I look forward to getting it and I read every single page. Best money ever spent!
Distracted? Yes, but never uninspired if I sit and focus for a moment.