False Strength

This is just what I needed to hear today. A message from Emily that is not exactly reassuring. But it is true.

#1106, c. 1867

We do not know the time we lose —
The awful moment is
And takes its fundamental place
Among the certainties —

A firm appearance still inflates
The card — the chance — the friend —
The spectre of solidities
Whose substances are sand —

The best among us, and Emily is the best, are the ones who are most likely to place confidence in an appearance of clarity, faithfulness, strength. A sterling person assumes the best of others. What else does she or I or you have to go on? If you are at all disposed to be transparent and genuine and substantial yourself, you’ll assume others are as well. That’s the truth you walk in. Imaginative, trusting Emily says, she will be gulled by an inflated appearance. Her willingness to believe what she sees will leach away that valuable thing, time. She warns: Do not be gulled by what appears to be a serious obstacle or a serious friend. These are insubstantial. Mistaking them for something more solid, robs us of our only real asset. That is the precious life.

Inflated troubles, inflated friends. These are all the same. Hot air.

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