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Nature Abhors a Vacuum
by Terry Barlow
06/09/13
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One morning I woke up with an elbow injury and wasn't sure what I did in my sleep to inflict it. I nursed it for some days until it was followed then by a back injury, and again wasn't sure how exactly it happened. But what I noticed was how quickly the less painful elbow injury receded into the background and was forgotten! All this was reminiscent of some earlier theorizing: that if we don't seem to have a pressing problem or crisis, human nature has a way of inventing one just in order to "fill the vacuum." It's as if we have some need to be preoccupied with something, something to lament or stew over and haven't quite learned to rest in and appreciate (even marvel over) what may be the unsullied uneventfulness of the present moment. John Calvin referred to the human heart as an "idol factory" but what shall we call that place where we tend to manufacture proccupations, and crises, and real life drama? But then that's precisely the point, so often it isn't real at all what that factory produces. The foreman of that factory ought to be taken out and shot at dawn! (kidding of course) I'm not saying that all injuries and illnesses, for example, are imaginary. No way; just that we have our ways of needlessly elaborating upon them....I daresay, even thriving upon them.

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