Clinging to the Invisible God

Thomas MertonCan I hope that I am now in a new area, traveling more securely, and that my commitment to the hermit life will be something more than a comic gesture? Is the whole thing just a fantastic private comedy? I question myself and my whole life very seriously. The real absurdity of it all! The unreality of so much of it. I mean especially the unreality of years I look back on when, being Master of Students, for example, my job gave an appearance of substance and consistency, but actually I was floating in a kind of void! I think I enjoyed it to a great extent, but, if I had been more fully aware, I would probably have not been able to cope with it.

In a word, what I see is this: that, while I imagined I was functioning fairly successfully, I was living a sort of patched-up, crazy existence, a series of rather hopeless improvisations, a life of unreality in many ways. Always underlain by a certain solid silence and presence, a faith, a clinging to the Invisible God. This clinging (perhaps rather His holding on to me) has been in the end the only thing that has made sense. The rest has been absurdity. What is more, there is no essential change in sight. I will probably go on like this for the rest of my life. Here “I”, am: this patchwork, this bundle of questions and doubts and obsessions, this gravitation to silence and to the woods and to love. This incoherence!

There is no longer anything to pride myself in, least of all “being a monk” or being anything—a writer or anything.

September 5, 1966