T is for True

Therefore, if you spend your life
trying to escape from the heat of the fire
that is meant to soften and prepare to become your true self…
you will be destroyed by the event
that was meant to be your fulfillment.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

New Seeds of Contemplation (Thomas Merton) — the sealing wax analogy

So often I pray not to be brittle.

N is for Needs

But do you imagine that if you become as prosperous as the United States you will no longer have needs? Here the needs are even greater. Full bellies have not brought peace and satisfaction but dementia, and in any case not all the bellies are full either. But the dementia is the same for all.

Thomas Merton, first draft of Day of a Stranger

Day of a Stranger was written in response to a request from a South American editor who asked Merton to describe a typical day. Some of it feels like stream-of-consciousness writing, but he pulls dementia into his thoughts on poverty and prosperity.

Dementia is indeed wealth blind.

Dad feeding Mom while I-Can-Do-It Mary watches.

My mother’s wealth, even in her dementia, was the constancy of my father. He visited my mother twice a day every day. I never saw any family visit I-Can-Do-It Mary.