And There Was A Great Calm... Richard Miles

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Our extraordinary year has been described as a mashup of the 20th century’s most tumultuous years. Among those, 1918, the year of the pandemic that eventually killed 675,000 Americans, is held up as a mirror and a warning. The devastating influenza appeared as World War I drew close to its last day, 102 years ago today.   Among the year’s bitter ironies is that over half of the U.S. military’s wartime deaths, more than 116,000 in all, were due to influenza in training camps at home during the last three months of the war.

How did people make sense of such an awful year? In Thomas Hardy’s poem, “And There Was a Great Calm,” he describes the famous final minute of the war. Hardy paints a picture of an emotional limbo, a no-man’s land somewhere between peace and misery:

Calm fell. From Heaven distilled a clemency;
There was peace on earth, and silence in the sky;
Some could, some could not, shake off misery:
The Sinister Spirit sneered: ‘It had to be!’
And again the Spirit of Pity whispered, ‘Why?’

The tone is bleak, part of that generation’s realization that the Great War may have been a great mistake. Christians, however, recognize a glimmer of hope in Hardy’s poem. God allows us to ask “why?” of life’s hardest moments and its hardest years. In the search for answers, and ultimately Truth, we find our way out of no-man’s land to true Peace.

My hope and prayer is that the Trinity Forum serves as a guide and inspiration along that journey. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Board Chairman. Over the past 8 months, we have been pleasantly surprised – and excited – by the number of people across the country and the world for whom the Trinity Forum’s mission means so much. We look forward to continuing to “engage the big questions of life and come to better know the Author of the answers.”


This Friday, November 13th we are honored to welcome back psychiatrist, author, and Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dr. Curt Thompson. This year has been a difficult and uncertain one, marked by anger, fear, and division. We thought following the election it would be important to have a conversation not about politics, but about healing, grace, and reintegration — both for our individual and spiritual lives, and our shared common life together.

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Recommended Reading and Resources
As we navigate these uncertain times together, we recommend the related resources
below as both an encouragement and catalyst for reflection.