There is an obscurity so obscure that it is no longer even dramatic. There is nothing unusual or heroic to celebrate in this way of being, because there is nothing to point to: no award, no arrival, no legacy. All of it is nothing, only ordinary work. And who doesn’t dream of freedom from this?
Except. If the people you love are in it, too, how will you continue to love them except by connection through this daily toil? The grind, my father calls it, and he is right. It grinds us from our husks, makes of our once-proud autonomies something else, something worth offering only because it is transformed.
This is what makes it possible to say here, take this bread. Dearly beloved, it is the body I surrender, for you.
The italicized opening line is from Thomas Merton’s essay “Renunciation,” in New Seeds of Contemplation.