you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find their rest in you;
These lines from St Augustine have perhaps become cliche´d. The third and fourth lines are so often quoted now that I fear they have lost their wonderful truth. Also, it often comes detached from the second line which is the key to not having a restless heart in the first place. We inhabit a world, increasingly true in the West, where we do not acknowledge that Man was made for God. Man increasingly believes he was made autonomous and his heart will be restless until it has all it desires ie material goods, fame, status and sexual satisfaction.
Coming over Waterloo Bridge I was confronted by this sign. It was attached to a building in the South Bank which is probably the most important cultural centre in the UK. There was no other slogan to suggest how we fight nothingness. Perhaps it is meant to apply particularly to the arts. If you have seen Sartre’s play In Camera you will know how depressing and nihilistic art without God can become. My thoughts went immediately to St Augustine’s lines as a defence mechanism. Sad then if they are devalued by overuse.
The other lines that are in danger of being over quoted are ‘Footprints In The Sand’ which I now see as a poster, framed to go on your wall and the other day I heard someone say they were going to read a poem and then read Footprints. It has been made into a song.
Expect Footprints the Movie. I was rather pleased then to hear Tim Vine ( a Christian comedian so he is family and is allowed ) gently satirising it.
‘My beloved child, when you look back and see one set of footprints, it is then I should tell you that at that point I thought we should both hop.’