Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Loss--The Tie That Binds

In her novel, The Living , Annie Dillard, there is a funeral scene where one of the characters, Norval, reads pompously from the Bible, "O death, where is thy sting?" To which Hugh, sitting in a pew, thinks, "Just about everywhere, since you ask."


Why do we feel that we, alone carry this 
  heavy load?
Of course it’s real.
That lump...
That missing breast...
That dug-out prostate...
That awful shattered marriage...
That broken heart...
That lost job...
Or all that money gone...
Or that child that drifted away...
Or the years—where did they go...
Or that used-to-be-friend...
Or that faith or status or place or just somebody.
Why do we feel that we, alone carry this heavy load?

Look at their faces—just look—
Don’t turn away too soon. Look.
They carry a heavy load, too.
Who among us has not lost—every single one of us?
So maybe there is no only me or mine.
Maybe it really is us after all.
We’ve all lost—every single one of us.

Will we remember the we—as she stands
  angry and solemn
  demanding a refund for the food she ordered and does not like?
Or when we see that scowling checker...
Or hear that frightened preacher...
Or that coach or team that lost yet another game.

There are no they’s.
Only we’s.
These losses—whatever they are should not separate or isolate us.
Maybe we should remember we are all—like pearls on a string—
Members of the same club.

So whenever we see the faces—whoever—whenever—
Let us remember how heavy the load has been.
Let us remember out there
  down the street,..
  in a classroom...
  or on some droning plane...
We all have lost...and there really is no they or them.
But only us and we.

photo by associazione orlando / flickr

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