Saturday, January 21, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 21
My Deep Youthful Shyness
A bright, snowy afternoon, delicate blue clouds of snow blowing down off the frozen trees. Forcibly restrained myself from much work around the hermitage, made sure of my hour's meditation and will do more later. How badly I need it. I realize how great is the tempo and pressure of work I have been in down in the community--with many irons in the fire. True, I have in the community gained the knack of dropping everything and completely relaxing my attention and forgetting the work by going out and looking at the hills. Good that the novitiate work is not exceedingly absorbing. (Biggest trouble now is letter writing.)
Shall I look at the past as if it were something to analyze and think about? Rather, I thank God for the present, but for the present that is His and in Him. The past: I am inarticulate about it now. I remember irrelevant moments of embarrassment, and my joys are seen to have been largely meaningless. Yet, as I sit here in this wintry and lonely and quiet place, I suppose I am the same person as the eighteen-year-old riding back alone into Bournemouth on a bus out of the New Forest, where I had camped a couple of days and nights. I suppose I regret most my lack of love, my selfishness and glibness (covering a deep shyness and need of love) with girls who, after all, did love me, I think, for a time. My great fault was my inability really to believe it, and my efforts to get complete assurance and perfect fulfillment.
January 30, 1965, V.197-98