.....almost not Wednesday anymore, huh? It's been one of those days.
Finally finished up Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris. I liked this book a lot, and it gave me a lot to think about, as you can tell from the quotes I've been posting. I recommend it, especially if, like me, you run into that "just can't get up the energy to do anything" place. It's worth taking a look at. I appreciated most of all her musings on the necessity of the ordinary, the daily, the unspectacular in our lives. It is in those times when I am wrestling with the tasks of the day that I do some of my best thinking.
I also finished a book called Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs. He also wrote Running with Scissors. This is a memoir about his life with a completely emotionally unavailable and abusive father, and a mother who wasn't a lot of protection from him, due to her own problems. There is precious little humor in this book, and I think that some people who have read his other stuff have been turned off by the relentless bleakness of this volume. Not, in general, my cup of tea, but the book was worth reading simply to get to the last chapter. In that chapter, Burroughs describes an encounter with a father whose son is to graduate from Harvard Medical School. The father is justly proud of his son, and that pride and love just overwhelms Burroughs, even though it is not for him personally. He writes:
Quickly, I turn my back on him. The top of my head is about to blow off. I gasp once and tears spring to my eyes, fill them. Quickly, I cough, choke down the sob and I wipe my tears fast with my left wrist.
"Yeah, not here. Okay, shall we go, then?" he says.
I felt it.
The love, it was so strong. How can I possibly describe this love? It is a force of nature. It is great, like the dust bowl but wonderful instead of terrible.
The pride this man feels for his son, to graduate from Harvard Medical School, a doctor. The pride, this father's . The love, this father's. For his son. It is completely overpowering.
Never in my life have I felt anything like it.
Of course I know fathers love their sons. I have seen movies. I have watched TV.
I get it.
But until this moment, I have not felt it. And now, I have.
And it is not even mine. It leaked out of somebody else and stained me. It was not intended for me. It is not mine. And yet, I felt it. There was so much of it, so much love, so much adoration, so much of everything that is fine and good and wonderful and right with the world inside this man that he could not contain it.
The grief I feel is crushing and as we leave the room, I follow him because my legs are shaking and I know if he were to look at me he would ask, Are you okay? and I am not. I am not okay.
Because I can feel what it is I did not have.
I never felt it before.
How can you really miss something when you've never experienced it? The longing is purely academic. It's book knowledge.
But tonight, I felt it. I felt it, I felt it, I felt it.
I put my head down and cried for the boy who never felt what he should have. That section made the whole book worthwhile.
Currently reading? Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. This drives PapaC crazy, because I keep wanting to read him "just this one little snippet", which he doesn't find all that funny because he hasn't read all the funny little snippets before the one I'm hauling out.
I'm also reading James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small. It was time for a little sweetness and light after sociopathic fathers and acedia.
How 'bout ya'll?