From James Finley’s Merton’s Palace of Nowhere:
In prayer we are “useless.” We do not “do” anything, but rather open ourselves to be the person God calls us to be. The Moslems say, “God does nothing and therefore there is nothing God does not do.” God is beyond pragmatic functions. He is useless, yet by that very fact does all things.
Since we are like God, in our depths we are useless also. So, too, are children and sunsets and the simple recognition of the song of a bird. Death is useless, and so is a simple glance of love. Life itself is useless, for life is to be lived and not ridden in, eaten, packaged, sold, or patented. The self in us is useless and it is prayer that allows us to discover the positive uselessness of life in God.
Do things only become real or valuable when they can be used, manipulated, given purpose?
In uselessness, I am. The uselessness of life, the vanity of it all, is the essence of it all. A paradox. “Life itself is useless, for life is to be lived” — to be, not used. Subject, not object.