Sunday with Christian Wiman: Anxieties that have become useful to us

Along an Autumn Ridge (2007)

There is nothing more difficult to outgrow than anxieties that have become useful to us, whether as explanations for a life that never quite finds its true force or direction, or as fuel for ambition, or as a kind of reflexive secular religion that, paradoxically, unites us with others in a shared sense of complete isolation: you feel at home in the world only by never feeling at home in the world.

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

10 thoughts on “Sunday with Christian Wiman: Anxieties that have become useful to us

  1. > I reflexively distrust most criticisms of secularity

    Ditto, but more because it is very often more of a criticism on author’s-take-on-secularlism-which-is-unlikely-to-be-represenatative-of-anything [especially if they come from the Evangelical corner].

    This sounds more nuanced than that – – – and the Communion of Despair is certainly a thing; easily perceptible as the most privileged of the most wealthy generation in all of human history shriek and weep over . . . I’m not quite sure what.

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  2. I reflexively distrust most criticisms of secularity because historically its benefits far outweigh its problems but I can’t really respond without reading the book, but I do find it interesting to read a Christian complain about people not feeling home in the world.

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  3. > I’m a stranger here, … I’m a stranger there.

    That’s good. It’s a plot twist in only four lines!

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  4. …”explanations for a life that never quite finds its true force or direction…” Yes. That’s me. I’m not exactly anxious, but I feel I was given so much by life/God/fate, and I’ve never done nearly enough with it. And in the words of an old folk song:

    I’m a stranger here,
    a stranger everywhere.
    I could go home, but honey,
    I’m a stranger there.

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  5. Even after years of therapy I am loathe to give up my anxieties. They are part of who I am.
    There must be a calm person somewhere inside me just waiting……

    bright flashes of thought.
    catch this jigsaw as it breaks
    pray that love may mend.

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  6. Useful anxieties? I don’t know. I don’t feel at home in the world because the world is never secure — but then, neither is home.

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