Whenever my life came to a halt, the questions would arise: Why? And what next?

… they were not childish and foolish questions but the most vital and profound questions in life … no matter how much I pondered them there was no way I could resolve them.

Leo Tolstoy, in Confessions

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In his adult life Tolstoy discovered that his “feelings … not reason” opposed the superstitions of the age in which he lived and he realized that these superstitions were the “means by which people hide from themselves their own ignorance of life.”  In this he began to journey from the head and intellect to the heart – away from others stuck in the head and to his interior, to his soul, his eternal existence.

He came, in this journey, to realize that “his judgments must be based on what is right and necessary and not what people say and do” … that he “must judge … according to his heart.”

He moved from Rousseau and the Enlightenment, and its reliance on man’s genius, toward God.

His work with peasants showed him the importance of individual will, responsibility, and the dignity in a person deciding how to live – to define in daily actions a “why” that governed them and gave them purpose and meaning.

Coincident to this, Tolstoy credits his marriage and his family – his role as a husband and father – with orienting him away from himself and toward others, strengthening his emotional life and maturity, and accelerating his return to faith.

At one point he understood that absent faith he experienced an “illness” he described as “more spiritual than physical.”  He was in this stage of his life finding the “why” and gaining a confidence that converted the “what next” to an unknown certainty.

Moving from head to heart.  Feelings.  Interior exploration.  Emotional growth. Maturity.  Marriage.  Family.  The primacy of individual liberty and personal responsibility.  Others more than self.  Faith and health.  God.

We see these in Tolstoy’s account.  They are, likewise, our existence.


Please share with this blog with others.  Think about what it says to you.  We need to return to faith.  Nothing that we face, individually or collectively, is not made better when faith governs us.  God bless … and thank you for reading “Spirlaw.”