A Cheerful End

I know that if I say we are at the end not just of a year but of the first decade of the twenty-first century someone will correct me. For bloggers, correction is both a blessing and a bane. It is a blessing when it puts right an error, advances an argument, or throws light on something previously obscure (Digitalnun would add, when it makes us smile as well). It’s a bane when it it is simply the outpouring of rudeness or venom which does nothing constructive. I can’t help feeling we’ve seen an awful lot of negative correction during the past ten years, not just in the blogosphere but also in the world at large.

Here in Britain I think many people have been dismayed to find how much corruption simmers beneath the surface of our public life and in the shock of that discovery have exaggerated the effects. Some MPs fiddled their expenses so now we are cynical about all politicians; some bankers behaved greedily and irresponsibly so now bank-bashing is a legitimate blood sport. Religion is not exempt.  Some clergy abused children and young people so now all Catholics are the spawn of Satan; some Islamist extremists murdered so now all Muslims are terrorists. Even the weather attracts our ire. We’ve had two harsh winters in succession and it’s highlighted the inadequacy of some of our preparations, so we castigate our local authorities for not doing more. Now ‘flu is spreading and our misery knows no bounds. At the year’s end, with budget cuts and job cuts and VAT rises to look forward to, we are not at our most cheery.

Cheeriness, however, is not a virtue; cheerfulness is, though I fear you will not find it listed in any textbook of moral theology, more’s the pity. Cheeriness is merely the state of being happy and optimistic and is limited to self; cheerfulness is causing happiness and optimism in others and knows no bounds. If iBenedictines has a wish for its readers at the end of 2010 it is simply this: be cheerful. There’s more true religion in that than you might think, but correct me if I’m wrong.


7 thoughts on “A Cheerful End”

  1. Cheeriness is catching and hopefully will spread about by each of us , who follow your blog.
    We could spread the Word in the cheery way of our heritage and who knows by next year we may all still be smiling.
    Buon fini Buon initizie

  2. This posting prompts me to write down questions that have occurred to me when reading this blog. How do we ‘blog back’?
    This is still a new form of communication and I for one do not know what constitutes an appropriate response or what responses bloggers hope for when they post their messages.
    Perhaps corrections are the commonest feedback as they are the easiest response to produce? Mercifully this site is free from the vapid ‘Yeah LOL’ type of feedback that is also far too easy to produce.
    But what is appropriate or desirable? Is the blog a homily that we should ponder and keep in our hearts? A letter to which a personal thought-out, heartfelt reply is expected or hoped for? Am I to deal with it as the starting point to a discussion or seminar? Who are the participants in this seminar? Who reads the letter?
    As one who often been moved, irked, challenged, heartened, enriched…. by this blog, but who has only seldom blogged back, may I throw open these questions.

    • You have already answered yourself, Patricia, although I hope someone else who reads this blog will respond to your questions.

      As I’ve said on a number of occasions, both in iBenedictines and its predecessor, Colophon, our aim in blogging is to stimulate thought. If you choose to comment and others take up your argument, that’s fine by us; if you prefer just to read and keep your thoughts to yourself, that’s fine, too. The one thing we won’t tolerate is using the comments section to blacken someone else’s reputation or to write uncharitably/maliciously. We try not to let our own irritation with olympian attempts to instruct/inform us show, so we hope for the same restraint from others.

      As to why we write, like most bloggers, we write as diarists do, to record what has happened; to comment on things that have interested/amused/annoyed/moved us; to share insights we hope may be of use to others; perhaps, most tellingly, because the Spirit moves us. We fly a few kites and are provocative at times, although humour does not always travel well or survive translation into other languages. We have a couple of thousand links to our blogs but far fewer comments, so I think a lot of people are happy enough just to read and move on.

  3. I raise my glass to toast the practice of Cheerfulness in the new year, the new decade. That almost sounds like a New Year’s resolution!

    And I toast civil, reasoned and respectful dialogue. So much more is to be gained by it.

    Have a Happy New Year, Sisters, and thank you for the spiritual ‘oasis’ of your blog!

  4. I’ve just discovered your website and blog – a lovely gift for the New Year. I live in South Oxfordshire and my daughter and granddaughters live a few miles from the Hendreds but I had no idea there was such an innovative and inspirational community on our doorstep. Thank you for the blog and I look forward to reading it.

  5. A Happy New Year to you.

    As for cheerfulness – why the days are already lengthening and I have heard a Great Tit and a Dunnock singing. The best treats are those that God provides. I love January and the fresh start it brings.

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