A Forgotten Blaze of Astonishment

I love the legacy of Charles Schulz and his humble theology of the daily grind. Recently a Peanuts comic went around Facebook which struck me as deeply profound (and typically Schulz). Charlie Brown and Snoopy are sitting side by side when Charlie Brown exclaims, “Someday we will all die, Snoopy!”  And Snoopy responds, “True….but on all the other days, we will not.”

The pessimist and the optimistic, side by side, and right down the middle a straight shot to the heart of the matter: On all other days, we are alive.

How remarkable.

In his Autobiography (1936), G.K. Chesterton put it this way, when describing his own journey to a faith of sorts:

“…even mere existence, reduced to its most primary limits, was extraordinary enough to be exciting. Anything was magnificent as compared with nothing. …  I hung on to the remains of religion by one thin thread of thanks. … What I meant, whether or no I managed to say it, was this; that no man knows how much he is an optimist, even when he calls himself a pessimist, because he has not really measured the depths of his debt to whatever created him and enabled him to call himself anything. At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder; so that a man sitting in a chair might suddenly understand that he was actually alive, and be happy.”

Please join me this month of Thanksgiving to fan that forgotten blaze, to recall with grateful astonishment that on all other days, we exist.

Let’s dig together for this submerged sunrise of wonder.


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