I have been living in a deep, dark and cold void of self pity. My partner pierced this darkness with a simple question, “maybe you have not suffered enough?”. This planted a seed in my mind and somewhat counter-intuitively was liberating. This paradoxical effect arose as this phrase did not arise from spite or hate but from love.
There is a story of man who was in a state of despair. The burdens of his life were overwhelming. He prayed for relief. One evening he received a vision. He was in a room with Christ. “I have heard your prayers, my son. Here look at this table of crosses, These crosses represent the burdens you can carry in the rest of your life. I allow you to choose the one you want.” There were large, crosses, crosses showing the crucified Christ with the crown of thornes and the side wound. The man spied a very small almost inconspicuous cross. He picked it up and declared, “I choose this one”. Christ replied, “This is the cross you have borne all your life and the cross you bear now.”
I can, by many objective measures, prove the harm wrought upon me by others. These injuries have pushed me into the void. The manipulation of neuro-chemistry alone will not suffice. The journey out of the void needs insights like those offered by my partner. It is my choice how to deal with my perceived suffering. This is not to exculpate, endorse, forget or forgive. This road is not on the horizon and it may never be.
So, I believed the big lies and have been shaken by the real world. It makes this aspiration of these lies no less important and I have forgotten this lesson.
Monks were asked what they do all do. They replied, “we fall down and get up”. I have fallen down a tall staircase into this void. I am battered, bruised and disoriented. It is time to try to get up and find that steep staircase. I may only reach the first step. I may have suffered enough. It is liberating to reframe and recognize that the void may teach me even if I do not survive it.
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4)
All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOWME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY