- Posted by Lin Wilder
- On December 25, 2013
- 0 Comments
- a search for the sacred, benefits of exercise, catholicism, catholocism, forgiveness, healing, sacred, telling the truth, thinking, writing
Wonder: It’s essential place in our hearts
There was a time when I had this memorized,
the words represented truth to my 20 something atheist’s heart, immersed and lost in the sea of the thoughts of others.
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an æsthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder…
Only the italics are mine-
the words are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s on the last page of his novel, The Great Gatsby. There are 3 more paragraphs and a last sentence which continues to be dissected by critics as they opine about Fitzgerald’s meaning. But it was this sentence: “face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder..” that stayed in my heart and ended the book in my memory.
I was surprised when I re-read that last page and discovered that there were 3 more paragraphs following the one I had committed to memory.
With ease I can return to the young girl I once was,
hungry to learn from those believed to have the answers; to have asked all of the questions I was asking and to have found answers for me as well as for them. As I re-read the words on this Christmas morning all these years later, again I am drawn by the lyrical, lush-almost profligate beauty of Fitzgerald’s prose but profoundly aware of the despair implicit in his words.
Wonder: the uncorrupted sense of awe, delight, surprise, astonishment…something completely and totally inspired by something other, outside self, worthy of adoration.
This is where faith begins, I think; it’s absence where faith begins to die.