Life lost in living

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, partly because I didn’t have to preach last Sunday, mostly because it takes a lot of work to be a mother of the bride. Now that the happy couple are on their way, I had a few minutes to start reading a new book, Tell It Slant by Eugene Peterson. In the introduction, he quotes the poet T.S. Elliot:

“Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word…
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
(from “Choruses from ‘The Rock'”)

There is a lot to think about in those few lines. And since I work with words in so many different ways (teaching, preaching, writing, communicating, reading, proof-reading, memorizing, counseling), I do wish I would simply be silent more often. So this quote got my attention. The third line particularly struck me though: it makes me wonder how much of Life (Jesus called it abundant life) I might be missing because I am immersed in the trivial. Like paying more attention to the significance of the promises made at the marriages of my children (and my own) rather than the millions of other details, plans, flowers, dresses, menu,etc.

Now I need to go hunt for my collection of T.S. Eliot works.


  1. Cyril used to recite the “tell the truth but tell it slant” E. Dickinson poem for me. I could even wake him in the dead of night just to hear that poem, and it would be there.

  2. What a great Cyril story. Actually a few pages later, Peterson quotes that poem too. It’s a good book actually, one of those take-your-time-and-read-it-slow books. I am only on the first chapter but read a little at breakfast each morning.