Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

Excerpt

We all deal daily with annoyances. The first motorist in a green arrow left-turn lane is often some dreamer who lurches forward like a startled hippo just after the arrow has come and gone. Dental hygienists address older and wiser patients by their first names. We toss sixteen socks into a dryer but get only fifteen back. Such incidents are mere nuisances, and healthy people absorb them like small bursts of extra chlorine in their drinking water.

Deeper than annoyance lies an array of regrets. People regret early educational decisions that locked them into particular careers. They rue youthful follies and indiscretions. Usually when it is too late, they regret long neglect of friends and family members. In fact, memories of the past sometimes hurt us just because the roads we missed back there are now barricaded.

Perhaps most poignantly, thoughtful human beings suffer pangs from aging. They gain an acute sense of the one-way flow of time that carries with it treasures and opportunities and youthful agilities that seemingly will not come again. Worse, they know perfectly well how human life ends. In pondering the twenty-third psalm, Joseph Sittler once observed that though we walk through the valley of death just once, we spend our whole lives in the valley of the shadow of death. Middle-aged people notice that shadow more often than they used to.

But even further toward the alarm end of the trouble spectrum . . .

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