Trivia

I had never realised before how much time is spent on trivia. Elliot was right. We cannot bear too much reality. We flee from it and cultivate areas of interest which we invest with the utmost importance. ‘Oh, I couldn’t live without my….’ Or, ‘I must have my…’ I am no better than the next person. I do it just as much but I am also afflicted, if that is the right word, with the awareness that these preoccupations, in the greater scheme of things, count for nothing. They are pass-times – literally. 

At Mass on Sunday the priest spent long moments giving a eulogy of a parishioner who had just died. He went on and on about how much he had done for the parish, how much he would be missed. I wondered what this paragon had done when Father went on to describe the hours the man had spent working on the drains in front. It was a moment of pure bathos and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. Of course, drains are important, especially if they are not working properly. I suppose this should remind me that I am being too extreme. When it comes to human activity intention is all important. The intention of the doer can elevate the utterly trivial to the sublime. The reverse is also true. This is the incredible thing about being human. We have the power to turn the dross of humdrum activity into the pure gold of love. I am reminded of two lines by Rimbaud

 Car j’ai de chaque chose extrait la quintessence;

To m’a donné ta boue et j’en ai fait de l’or.

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