And so I think that immaturity is a blessing. A kind of blessing. Emotional immaturity. Intellectual immaturity. Moral immaturity. Because. Well. What does maturity mean, exactly? Doesn’t it mean probity? Doesn’t it mean deliberateness? Doesn’t it mean a measured approach to things? An unemotional, plodding, precise approach to questions of various kinds? Doesn’t it mean old men sitting around in leather chairs drinking brandy and smoking cigars? Doesn’t it mean old women sitting around in quiet rooms drinking tea, for example, and maybe doing embroidery or needlepoint? Maybe munching on some cookies?
And isn’t this sitting around business…. Isn’t this listening to some ponderous windup clock somewhere down the hall tick off the seconds, minutes, and hours. Isn’t this careful consideration of all things…. The floor creaking occasionally. Well. Isn’t this a moral dead-end? Isn’t this an emotional dead-end? Isn’t this an intellectual dead-end?
Don’t we mean judgment when we talk about mature Christians, for example? Don’t we mean that they make good judgments of people’s moral character? Don’t we mean that mature Christians are in the habit of judging others? Are in the habit of grinding forward like so many huge earth-moving machines that demolish mountains one scoop at a time? That demolish someone’s goodness one judgment at a time? Someone’s possibly good name one word at a time?
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m over-reacting. Maybe I’m hyperbolic. Maybe I have a hyperbolic personality disorder. But sometimes I think I’d rather be immature than mature. Sometimes I think I’d rather have no idea what is going on. Whether what someone is doing is good or evil. Whether what someone is thinking is good or evil. Whether what someone is feeling is for good or evil. Whether what someone is saying or writing will tilt the world in one direction or another.
Because in the white light of eternity, I have no idea. I don’t live there. In the white light of eternity. No. I live here. On this particular planet in a particular galaxy. In this particular corner of the universe. So I don’t know. I don’t have the mind of God. I barely have my own mind, and I must say, this particular mind is not much to write home about. No sir. No way. No m’am. Very limited, you see. Very odd. For example, my wife calls me a moron. A lunatic. An idiot. And she knows my mind much better than I do, because she stands outside it. She has a better. A more comprehensive. A less involved. A less parochial. View of it. Than I do.
No. If maturity means judgment. If maturity means you sit around all day in some creaky place weighing the goodness or meanness of others. If maturity means becoming better and better at weighing very small things on very sensitive scales. Measuring grains of sand differences. And deciding who’s in and who’s out. What’s up and what’s not. Who wins and who doesn’t.
When I was still a teenager, still in boarding school, I remember thinking, “We all judge. Every single one of us. Old or young, rich or poor, smart or dumb, well read or illiterate, admitted to the club or excluded from the club. We all judge. The trick is to judge well. The trick is to judge correctly. I’ll be putting all my effort into doing that from now on.”
Ah but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.