Friday, October 21, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - October 21
Night Is Coming
Though I am nearly forty-eight, and it is doubtless time to feel a change of climate in my physical being, which begins to dispose itself for its end some one of these years, it is useless to interpret every little sign or suggestion of change as something of great significance. This is a temptation I yield to. I am still too young mentally to be in the least patient of any sign of age. My impatience is felt as an upheaval of resentment, disgust, depression. Yet I am joyful. I like life. I am happy with it. I have nothing to complain of. But a little of the chill, a little of the darkness, the sense of void in the midst of myself, and I say to my body: "Okay, all right then, die, you idiot!" But it is not really trying to die, it just wants to slow down.
This war scare aggravates it, this sense of death and desperation running through my whole society with all its bombs and its money and its death wish. The colossal sense of failure in the midst of success that is characteristic of America (but that America cannot really face). I have a comfortable sense of success, which I know to be more or less meaningless, yet I want to make my will now--as a writer. Go on, fool! Forget it! You may write another twenty books, who knows? In any case, does it matter? Is this relevant? On the contrary, now is the time I must learn to stop taking satisfaction in what I have done, or being depressed because the night will come and my work will come to an end. Now is the time to give what I have to others and not reflect on it. I wish I had learned the knack of it, of giving without question or care. I have not, but perhaps I still have time to try.
October 2, 1962, IV.253