A Question for Thomas Merton

I came across this journal entry from a few years ago and                                                      the quote that followed it:

Do I stay on the path I’ve started and slog through the muddy places, believing that eventually the path must rise upward again?  Or, when the brambles have gotten too thick to bushwhack through, do I turn away to head to the light I think I can see in the distance? 

 “Do not depend on the hope of results.  When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on… you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect.  As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.  And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people.  The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real.  In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”

from “Letter to a Young Activist” by Thomas Merton

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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