Saturday, April 30, 2005

All that he does succeeds

Psalm One
Journal entry dated February 18, 2005

"He is like a tree planted near flowing waters,yielding fruit in due season. All that he does succeeds."

What does a successful life look like? This is the question with which we are confronted in this "gateway to the Psalms." A successful life is a rooted life, a thriving life, an abundant life. It contrasts with the life of the wicked, which is like "chaff blown about on the ground like the wind;" empty and rootless, scattered hither and yon, rushing frantically from one place to another with every gust of wind. One would be hard pressed to find a better image of the modern consciousness with its anxieties and neuroses.

Somehow, this question of the successful life is connected to the threefold negative at the beginning of the psalm: "Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, lingers not along the path of sinners, sits not among the cynics." Perhaps these can be said to represent three levels of failure: listening to the words of those who have rejected abundant life, walking along their paths, and finally succumbing to cynicism. If this is so, then it is cynicism, the failure of hope, that is the greatest failure of all, the greatest obstacle to the successful life.

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