July 7, 2007

A Certain Humility

Reading widely keeps a man humble. If one's only reference point is one's own world, in every matter under heaven a person feels as though he is a pioneer. Yet there are few things new under the sun, and this is a certain relief. I like the possibility that I do not have to save the world, comprehend all of its brooding mysteries, communicate all of its higher meanings. It is only for me to be a faithful steward of this particular season, and good stewardship invites a person to know what has gone before him. That the book of Proverbs, for instance, includes a dialogue between a skeptic on the brink and an orthodox on the straight and narrow reminds me that my deep doubts and robust faith—and the frequent internal dialogue between them—are not so original after all. Though it will certainly mean the loss of paperback memior deals down the road, I would do well to fall in behind them and learn from their ways.