The Shimmering Mirage

As I sit here and watch the snow that threatens to blanket much of the entire east coast of the country, my thoughts run to the words of the noted philosopher Howard Thurman from his book of meditations, Deep is the Hunger:

€œAll travelers somewhere along the way, find it necessary to check their course, to see how they are doing. We wait until we are sick, or shocked into stillness, before we do the commonplace thing of getting our bearings. €

This Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran an article by Bathsheba Monk titled €œMy New Gun. € Ms. Monk, a writer and resident of Allentown, Pennsylvania, described how-due to €œthe worsening financial news €-she has purchased a gun for €œprotection. € €œYou might as well get used to a .38 [caliber handgun] € a friend and gun enthusiast told her. €œYou want it to make a nice big hole. €

Ms. Monk wrote that a clerk at the gun store where she made her purchase told her that many handguns were out of stock. Background check records indicate that arms sales around the country have been increasing €œin inverse proportion to the collapsing economy and in response to the unsubstantiated buzz that the new administration is going to tighten gun control. €

This chilling story brought to mind a poem by Australian poet/theologian, Bruce D. Prewer entitled €œThoughts in the Desert €:

€œThose who dare to test their wits
In dry inhospitable territory,
Where no one is waiting
To receive them,
Return with
a word;

The dire danger to the adventurer
is not demoralizing gibber plains
nor ridge after ridge of sand,
but the distracting lure
of the shimmering mirage.

To distinguish reality from the illusion
And to keep one €™s bearings and course
In spite of the mink €™s treachery-
This is the ultimate test for the pilgrims
and prophets.

City prophets have a variation on this word:
Deserts take victims swiftly, savagely,
But urban mirages work slowly,
Day by day diverting prey
And destroying souls
still smiling. €

Follow Us