I’ve taken up reading Thomas Merton. I happened upon him in the usual roundabout back-door way in which I tend to find most anything. Regardless of the process I’ve found his journals to be very interesting and his writing challenging. His journals are especially interesting and helpful. They are not highly thought-out or doctrinal, which I like. I can pick them up and put them down easily. The main things that I’ve gotten from them is his own joy in simply reflecting on life around him and the conscious desire to be simple, not because it’s somehow more holy or better, or because of a command, or because of self-despising humility, but because he loves God and finds that the best way to love God fully is to love Him simply.
When I stop and reflect as Merton does, I feel joy and gratitude. Not all the time of course. Today I have a splitting headache for example and even writing this through my blurry glasses makes my head hurt more.
The fact that Merton still struggles with the need for acceptance, self-acceptance, and all the “shoulds” that go along with it also make me feel more normal.