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Dismissal and cynicism

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Something awful has happened, something terrible.

Something worse, even, than the fall of man. For in that greatest of all tragedies, we merely lost Paradise—and with it, everything that made life worth living. What has happened since is unthinkable: we’ve gotten used to it. We’re broken in to the idea that this is just the way things are. The people who walk in great darkness have adjusted their eyes.

Regardless of our religious or philosophical beliefs, most of us live as though this life is pretty much the way things are supposed to be. We dismiss the whispers of joy with a cynical "Been there, done that." That way we won’t have to deal with the Haunting. I was just talking with some friends about summer vacations, and I recommended that they visit the Tetons. "Oh, yeah, we’ve been there. Nice place." Dismissal.

And we deaden our sorrows with cynicism as well, sporting a bumper sticker that says, "Life sucks. Then you die." Then we try to get on with life. We feed the cat, pay the bills, watch the news, and head off to bed, so we can do it all again tomorrow. Standing before the open fridge, I’m struck by what I’ve just watched. Famine in Africa. Genocide . . . where? Someplace I can’t even pronounce. Corruption in Washington. Life as usual. It always ends with the anchor folding his notes and offering a pleasant "Good night." Good night? That’s it? You have nothing else to say? You’ve just regaled us with the horrors of the world we live in, and all you can say is "Good night"? Just once I wish he would pause at the close of his report, take a long, deep breath, and then say, "How far we are from home," or "If only we had listened," or "Thank God, our sojourn here is drawing to an end."

It never happens.

I doubt it ever will. And not one of us gives it a second thought. It’s just the way things are.

John Eldredge

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