Friday, October 7, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - October 6

Praying Through the Noise

The offices at night have been fine. I have slept more and have a clearer head to attend to the Word of God.

Yet it is surprising that I do not lose more sleep, as there is a bulldozer working day and night in the corn fields, in the bottomlands, and I sleep next to the window right over those fields. What are they doing? Can't they be content to let the creek wind the way it always did? Does it have to be straight? Really, we monks are madmen, bitten by an awful folly, an obsession with useless and expensive improvements.

To the east, then, the bulldozer day and night. The noise never stops. To the west, the dehydrator. The noise stops perhaps at midnight. A layman drives the bulldozer, our brothers work at the dehydrator.

To the northwest--a pump, day and night. Never stops. There is nothing making any noise to the south, but then to the south the monks' property soon comes to an end, and there are only lay people whose lives are generally quiet. They only speak. We make "signs," but drown everything in the noise of our machines. One would think our real reason for making "signs" might be that it is not always easy to be heard.

October 19, 1961, IV.170-71

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