Suppose, for the sake of having an argument, that there is a God, that he exists in His Trinity, and has such characteristics as are attributed to Him by Saints, Prophets, Apostles. To a modern person, of course, this is quite a stretch. He would ask me to leave out all those things which are not “scientific,” because they are specific, and so can be specifically denied. And, “Please,” (I’ve heard him often), “… don’t use caps.”

That is what our natural theology has come to — using our own natural means to establish what is good and real. We have reached Nowhere, having drained all certainties; and what we know is, Nothing. We haven’t enough faith to rise from bed in the morning, unless other motives come to mind.

But let me not generalize. I am hardly speaking of every “modern person” in the world today; only of the vast, uncountable majority. I, for instance, tend to mix with people who are a bit strange, by comparison.

Many of us suffer from nostalgia. By this I do not mean we long to return to the old days, when modern people were less apparent, or at least less aggressive, and more placid and polite. This is a common mental failing, or limitation, for our species — that we can’t reverse the direction of time, and move thoughtfully backward, when that appears to be the best option. It never happens, and in fact cannot happen, until the faculties of this world are turned about.

But that could only be done by God, whose very existence is doubted, even by his “lip servants.” I am “following the science” when I say that the only possible way to visit the past is by memory, sometimes aided by fragments of the past that have survived — usually for no good reason.

If there is God, I imagine that nostalgia is useful, however — if not consistently pleasurable, or pain-free.

It should be considered as one of the six official senses, or one of the forty-three primary aspects of memory. It restores nothing, though it may sometimes inspire the recreation of things good, true, and beautiful. But purely in and of itself, it offers a way of looking at moving, compendious things, which had otherwise become invisible and inaudible and untouchable.

For there is a close relation to lamentation, which is also a sense of what is, not what was. We recall what is lost, and summon to mind things once loved, and however secretly, appreciated. For often these are things we did not appreciate when they were physically present to us, and which we mishandled. Now they begin to communicate coherently to us.

As illness and another Canadian winter shuts me in, I welcome the idleness in which nostalgia will flourish. Even from events which I now properly regret, there will be fresh learning.

Perhaps, in nostalgia, God is opening our eyes to what we never noticed; that life, even in the most miserable conditions of squalor, created by ourselves — is good, is worth living, is filled with happy “accidents.”