O lovely apple!
beautifully and completely
hardly a contour marred–
perhaps a little
shrivelled at the top but that
in every detail! O lovely
apple! what a
deep and suffusing brown
unspoiled surface! No one
has moved you
since I placed you on the porch
rail a month ago
No one. No one!
~William Carlos Williams “Perfection”
“When a newspaper posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ the Catholic thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:
G. K. Chesterton.’
That is the attitude of someone who has grasped the message of Jesus.”
~Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008)
No one of us escapes the rottenness that lies not-so-deep beneath our shiny surface. We are full of wormholes allowing the world inside to eat us alive.
We are the problem and the problem is us. That is why we need rescue by a Savior who is the one good apple among a barrel of contagiously bad apples. We are so tainted, it takes Someone who truly is Perfect to transform us from the inside out.
We’ve elected someone who is emphatically a reflection of who we are — bad and rotten and more than willing to spoil the barrel with his history of immoral and unethical behavior, his contentious and profane words, his complete lack of humility and his unwillingness to admit his flaws.
May we hang on to hope that our dis-united states will once again survive an imperfect leader, just as we’ve survived the other rotten apples we’ve placed over us.
We get exactly what we deserve in a President and no one should be celebrating that today.
May we fall to our knees, weeping and grateful, that Christ, who is the Leader of all in His Kingdom, will grant us a grace and sanctuary we emphatically don’t deserve.
Now that would be reason to celebrate.
North Brooklin, Maine
30 March 1973
Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
[Signed, ‘E. B. White’] from Letters of Note