What do you see?

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Answers are easy — like pressing F5 on a vending machine and out they pop.

Questions that can’t be slain on the banality of faux enquiry, now that’s of a different order.

Today’s little reflection is, I hope, one of those; namely, there’s no easy way to answer it, less still conceive of it:

what do you see?

Right here, right now.

And for me, as someone who’s spent a lifetime trying to make sense of our messed up world, one thing’s for sure: it’s got and is getting a lot worse. Sure, that’s easy to say, much like the finger-wagging, shouting and excoriation that seems to proliferate the cosmic airwaves but it’s true.

My truth that is.

Too much of everything, especially of the comfort-seeking type.

At this point, I’ve got my wife’s voice in my ear:

“What’s wrong with comfort? You want everything so hard.”

Not to state the ever-so-obvious but, erm, everything.


Well, for all the talk of eradicating poverty, raising up standards and improving (say) our life expectancy, it sure seems to have come at a massive cost to mother earth. A cheap point — possibly? But I don’t think so, given where we’re at with the numbers.

What was it that Stephen Jenkinson said on his track Fate from the sublime album, Rough Gods?


Covid19? No, not that but something much, much worse.

What else do I see?

An interior landscape, if not shorn of soul, somewhere we’ve gone to hide — not forever — but just long enough to (possibly) forget that we’re here for one reason and one reason alone: to be the person we were born of: unique in every way.

“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It “consents”, so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.” — Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

I must have read and listened to that opening verse hundreds of times. Sometimes I dismiss it but mostly I ask myself what would (not in a solipsistic way) a Summerhayes look like that “[gave] glory to God by being [all of himself]?” And no, that’s not to succumb to the be all you can be narrative that I’ve such an issue with but to drop the pretence and connect again at the deepest, soulful level.

To be quite clear, I’m not on a mission to preach, convert or sell you anything save, perhaps, to to ask a better question, one, as I’ve said already, that can’t be annihilated on the anvil of bright lines of certainty or must-havery? If my experience is anything to go by, it’s not something in demand. In fact, in many quarters, it’s the last thing people are seeking. If nothing else, it’s too painful, too fraught with difficulty.

Anyhow, as they say, or I’m apt to say, tis Monday, and in my case, it’s time to get with the programme called work. Not the version that fills my soul to the brim but the type of needs and wants. Still, I’ve got a job and that’s not to be decried — too much at least.

Until next time.



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