Karl Barth (May 10, 1886 – Dec 10, 1968) and G.K. Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) lived at about the same time and they both touched on one of the major themes that I have discovered in my own experience: life is so much about process and starting over again.
Chesterton wrote of man’s fatigue with repetition and God’s capacity for joy in each new sunrise. Barth wrote of the necessity to begin again and again in our understanding of God’s revelation.
Much in life is repetitive. The political and economic cycles, the generations, my own experiences of joy and disappointment. The danger in this repetiition is that we get lulled into apathy or cynicism with meaningful people and events. The potential in the repetition is in the opportunity it presents for improvement in concerned attitude and in growth in our own capacity for joy.
Barth’s take on beginning again and again, inline with C.S.Lewis’s admonition to press “further up and further in”, is that we never get it figured out. It’s always about the process and we are constantly listening for the voice of God in the surrounding cycles.
As we grow older, we learn to find delight in small things and we take the time to bird-watch, drink coffee on the front porch, and talk for the sake of relating. I am much more patient with behavioral issues in my grandchildren and always ready to love them outright. I look to hold still for moments with my wife without rushing ahead to the list of tasks. I know that I won’t be here for long and each moment is precious. So I find myself milking the meaningfulness.