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5 Quick Things #268 🔔
buses, buildings, bells, & beasts (...that is, dogs)
A few months ago they ("they"? No idea who, really) fixed the courthouse clock and its bell in our historic neighborhood, which now chimes every half hour and hour. At six in the morning when I'm just stirring, I'll hear the bell as I start the kettle and pet the dog. It's quiet and unobtrusive for us, our house sitting about five blocks away from the Square, but I still hear it all throughout my day.
I never knew I'd love a regular bell toll so much. Whenever it chimes I think of the hamlets all over the world through the centuries who kept time together, who depended on a central voice marking the day when they were out in their fields or their storefronts, their pockets bereft of smartphones that could individually tell the time for them. I still love and use my watch, mind you, but the community call every thirty minutes does something more than tell me it's now six-thirty as I write this.
The bell toll uses our bodies — our sense of hearing, specifically, and we in the neighborhood experience it together, simultaneously. We don't do anything about it — we don't look at each other and nod, we don't stop what we're doing and check our watches to make sure it's accurate — we keep doing our thing. But for ten seconds or so, we're reminded that we're not alone and that we live here, physically. It tells us we're present, right now, wherever we are within earshot.
We’re made for presence, for smallness, for knowing and being known within our few square miles. There’s a reason our souls yearn for simpler, smaller, more analog days (picture-perfect in our minds’ eye with none of the challenges of yesteryear, of course). It’s almost as though that’s the size of life our human minds, bodies, and souls were created for.
I hope you find something today to remind you of where you are and that you live a fully embodied life in the right-now present. I'm also grateful you're here, reading this.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. New episode of A Drink With a Friend! Lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi. What does this old Latin phrase mean? These words represent an idea that’s not only time-tested, but it affects more of your own life than you think. Seth and I unpack why this concept matters, and what it has to do with topics like faith, education, work, and more. (You’ll hear more about this idea in upcoming episodes this season!)
2. Earlier this week I shared a bit of my reading plan for the year, as well as a few thoughts on why it matters what we read. If discipleship is a rehabituating of our loves, then how might reading be a tool to better shape our loves?
3. “Train travel is a pleasure for some, even a hobby, but nobody loves a bus. ...My bus love had always been much less ironic than I was willing to admit. The bus is simply the city on wheels. If you really love a place, you’ll love its buses.” I love this piece by Eve Tushnet about why she loves city buses, a thing we’re not “supposed” to love.
4. I’ve been learning more about the sacramentality of place from Grace Olmstead in her lovely newsletter, and her recent piece made some good points in unpacking the why behind why we love certain places. “Love of place shouldn’t be confused with romanticizing place. We might ‘love’ Paris for its beauty and its buildings, or long to live on the beach in Hawaii. Neither of those sentiments are truly love. To love a place ought to require vulnerability, intention, fidelity, and care. It should require seeing a place’s brokenness alongside its beauty.”
5. And finally, do you feel like you always need the subtitles on when watching anything these days? You’re not alone (I’m raising my hand here, too). Here are some reasons why.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 🎧
This Classical Garden playlist makes for good background writing music
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“We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.”
— G.K. Chesterton #
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Summer Travel Plans? ☘️
Now tends to be when you're thinking about summer travel plans, and I'll just say it: I would absolutely love it if you joined me and my family in Ireland. All three of my kids will be there, Kyle is coming, and we've already got a swell group of people signed up. You can come solo or with your whole clan*, and though most of us on these pilgrimages start off as strangers, I guarantee you'll leave with a new friend. Plus... it's IRELAND. Prayerfully consider coming!
*So long as they can walk a decent distance and handle some hiking.
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What can you create today?
Have a good weekend,
p.s. These compilation videos are always the best.