“the Christian pleasure was poetic”

“i had often called myself an optimist, to avoid the too evident blasphemy of pessimism. but all the optimism of the age had been false and disheartening for this reason, that it had always been trying to prove that we fit into the world. the Christian optimism is based on the fact that we do not fit in to the world. i had tried to be happy by telling myself that man is an animal, like any other which sought its meat from God. but now i really was happy, for i had learnt that man is a monstrosity. i had been right in feeling all this as odd, for i myself was at once worse and better than all things. the optimist’s pleasure was prosaic, for it dwelt on the naturalness of everything; the Christian pleasure was poetic, for it dwelt on the unnaturalness of everything in light of the supernatural. the modern philosopher had told me again and again that i was in the right place, and i had still felt depressed even in acquiescence. but i had heard that i was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. the knowledge found out and illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house of infancy. i knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer as the green beard of a giant, and why i could feel homesick at home.”

— g.k. chesterton, orthodoxy, “the flag of the world”