Modern life is any number of things, mostly horrible things, but what increasingly strikes me is that the most apt description of modern life is its profound sadness. Its emptiness. Its coldness. Sterility. Our little picture today suggests a possible reason. That reason is that Man confuses that he is supposed to use material things and that man himself is supposed to be loved. Somehow, today, that equation is, more and more quickly, getting reversed. Turned upside down. Flipped over.
Above, our Miss Lina Goldberg is to be thanked by all here for having provided us with such a pretty picture of the beach at Koh Rong Island, off the coast of Cambodia. Such a pretty place in its marvelous isolation. Pristine. Tranquil. Perfection. Small wonder we say, that posting here in Cambodia, in Vietnam, in Laos, in all the Indochine, under Imperial France, was a luxury posting. Small wonder that Koh Long is a luxury resort now, yet again, after all the wars. One would have to say one loved it. But one would be wrong-headed to say that. One ought instead to say one wants to make best use of it.
Behind Miss Goldberg’s lens, behind her picture of peace, there is a forest of tears. In that forest live the most destitute of God’s Children. Bereft of even meager human comfort, they live in terrible poverty, disease, hopelessness and despair. They are alone. Frightened. Unwanted. Invisible to those who seek to love the serene beauty of Koh Rong beach. Forgotten ones. Never known ones. They cry out to us at our beach of love and ask that we love them. Do we hear them? See them? Comfort them? Love them? Nay, we love the beach.
At Koh Rong, on the shore, in Cambodia, there is beauty and there is helplessness. These two, unrelated neighbors, live directly beside one another. One is for the proper using, the beach, the other for the tender loving, the helpless children.
Our love of Miss Goldberg’s pretty beach and the cries of the ones who have no one to love them, send errant messages to the modern mind that result in our most profound sadness.