A Little Dab of Brilliance

Y G K. Chesterton3There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real. It is the fundamental fact of being, as against not being; it is unthinkable, yet we cannot unthink it, though we may sometimes be unthinking about it; unthinking and especially unthanking. For he who has realized this reality knows that it does outweigh, literally to infinity, all lesser regrets or arguments for negation, and that under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude.

~G.K. Chesterton, from Chaucer

Ever get a song stuck in your head? You know what I mean. For some reason you start remembering a song and you just can’t stop replaying it in your mind.  As maddening as that is, it’s also a real compliment to those little machines in our skulls.   You might not remember what you had for breakfast three days ago but you probably know every word of a silly television commercial jingle from your childhood.

Yes, it’s hard to unthink something, and that little dab of brilliance is often our undoing – especially when all of that mental horsepower is used for holding grudges.  In his wonderful biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, G.K. Chesterton writes that “under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude.”  This remark seems odd until we really dig into it.  Behind every complaint there is a sense of how things ought to be.  Your very sense of offense is actually a flash of brilliance.  You have a chance to make things better.

If you are aware, you are enabled.


Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.