Daily Life

Ship’s Log: Expressionless, Expresses God

Welcome aboard the good ship Aaron! A ship’s log is a simple, straightforward record of the vessel’s condition and environment. This ship’s log consists of the sundry notes I’ve jotted down on scraps of paper and digital post-its. It provides a snapshot of my condition and environment. Take a look at this week’s entry:

Expressionless, expresses God.

Taken from Robert Lowell’s poem “The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket,” this phrase refers to being “in the zone,” that state of performance focus which eludes all but the truly passionate and competent. The world melts away and fear is swallowed up in confidence and muscle memory. The purity of this state is divine.

Later that same spring of 1872, in his own annual report, Roebling would write that most men got over their troubles either by suffering for a time or “by applying the heroic mode of returning into the caisson at once as soon as pains manifested themselves.”

In The Great Bridge, David McCullough recounts the history of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a fantastic book throughout, but this is the line that has stuck with me ever since I read it a few years ago. The “troubles” Roebling referenced are the effects of decompression illness—the bends—which the builders experienced while laboring deep in the caissons. When I’m suffering from the pressures of life, the Brooklyn Bridge reminds me that I’ve got two options: I can wallow in my pain and mourn my position, or I can apply the “heroic mode” by facing the pressure and going to work. The heroic mode is quicker and more effective.

The acquisition of knowledge is a sacred activity, pleasing to the Lord and favored of him.

This is from A House of Faith, by Dallin H. Oaks. “The glory of God is intelligence,” and I’ve enjoyed regular illumination from the Spirit in my studies this semester. I find it enabling to frame my academic work in this context.

Discovery was hardly intended to enable a learned profession to perform its functions either without wits or on wits borrowed from the adversary.

This is a snippet from Judge Robert H. Jackson’s opinion in the case of Hickman v. Taylor. The overarching issue of the case is the limits of discovery—the gathering of evidence. While investigating, one lawyer tried to compel discovery of the opposing counsel’s mental impressions and personal notes—his “work product.” The judge shielded attorney work product.

Some writers put semicolons and wild mushrooms in the same category: some are delicious, but others are deadly, and since it is hard to tell the difference, they should all be avoided.

I came across this gem in my legal writing textbook. The author went on to say that the rules for semicolons aren’t actually that difficult, and that they’re dreadfully useful. I agree.

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