Friday, 9 October 2009


PJ gave an excellent interview and has linked the podcast from the interview to her blog. Go over and check it out here. Thanks Pamela Jeanne for your continued insight and thoughtfulness, and for leaving some lights on a dark road.

She mentioned the word rage. It hasn't left me since I heard it.


The pit itself is bad. Dire.
It leads a woman or man to desperation. Clawing. Begging.
But there is no way out.

But what I really can't stand is seeing you all. You stand on the edge of that pit from time to time, jigging your baby on your hip, poke your head over and see me in it.
It ruins your day. It confuses you. She is not the type of woman to be in a pit. She used to be like me.

Yet there I am and that feeling of discomfort, dis-ease lingers in you. It's hard to know what to do with that feeling. So you pray for me, that I will be blessed in my pit. That I will feel the comfort of His hand while I claw the walls of my pit.

Prayer said, you walk away and get back to the business of your life. Glad once more that the pit is out of view. And I am glad that you're gone. I can't stand you looking at me. I despise your sweetly whispered blessings. They are redundant down here and their intent - to make you feel more at ease about me being in a pit - makes me boil.

I realise how rare empathy is. That almost all are incapable of it.

I am no better than others at giving it. My rage is selfish. I stand for no-one but myself when I demand an audience with God and scream "No. Not me" to his deaf ears.

I rage at you too, but in silence. I pretend I don't. I'm so ashamed. I try to take it elsewhere where I hope it can't be seen but it is crippling non-the-less. Who'd have thought that the werewolf was in me?

* * * * * *

...... Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discovery. When one looks from inside at a lighted window, or looks from above at a lake, one sees the image of oneself in a lighted room, the image of oneself among trees and sky - the deception is obvious, but flattering all he same. When one looks from darkness into light, however, one sees all the difference between here and there, this and that. Perhaps all unsheltered people are angry in their hearts, and would like to break the roof, spine, and ribs, and smash the windows and flood the floor and spindle the curtains and bloat the couch.

Marilynne Robinson

edited to add - When I say "you" I am not talking about you, dear readers, or any one person necessarily.


Cathy said...

Mrs. Spock linked me to you thinking this post might hit home with me.

Different pit (living children, searching for a genetic/metabolic condition making one of them very sick), same rage.

Thank you for writing this. Still alone in my pit, but at least the neighbors are screaming too.

luna said...

Rage is it, B. You've captured it here so well. Achingly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. There is empathy, it can be difficult to find, but it's there. We smile, we go on, we go down other roads, but we're a quiet bunch. I know that rage. It shattered the woman I used to be. I'm somebody else now, it can't be helped. There's nothing wrong with being angry that life is unfair.

Michele said...

I dont think your rage is selfish. I think it is a response to something so heartbreaking and wrong. A response that is so normal. It's funny, I totally hear you with yelling to God "why me". You dont wish it on anyone else mind you, but you'd love to know just why. Why me. Why us. Why our child/children.

This post pulls at my heart. Sending you hugs and thoughts as we all struggle through our pits.

Lavender Luz said...

I am in awe of how you put an intense emotion into words.

Abiding with you. There is nothing else to do.

(And no, I did not get that email from you.)

G$ said...

Thank you for putting such beautiful words to this, this pit.

Pamela said...

I stand in awe of your post. You've captured the raw emotion that led me to write about my experience in the first place. Your post has the power of poetry and pure passion.

Kami said...

Yes. I get it. Last night, with all our blessings, I was raging at all that still went so perfectly wrong.

I hope it is ok to say this . . . one thing that bugs be about the belief in God is that people feel like they have done something if they have said a prayer for you when in reality they have done nothing at all. Better to join you in the pit and let you rage and sob and know that you are still not alone.

B said...

I can understand you saying that Kami. The whole prayer thing really used to bug me too because I find it can be really dismissive at times (depending of course on who the person is). Then again, I have been really humbled hearing stories of people who don't know me or hardly know me, praying for me each day. Old ladies usually. It is so humbling that they hold my story in that way and remember it and me in a way that is meaningful to them.

The thing that let me let go of getting bugged by others prayers (mostly) was someone who said "Prayer is a creative act before God". That is, it shows who they are, and what they are on about. So like anything - letters, comments, - prayer is their way of remembering you.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post and feel your pain and rage selfishly as if it were my own. You are a beautiful writer and I'm sorry for your loss.
Sarah from California

Lut C. said...

Arrived here from the crème de la crème list.

A very evocative post. Makes me think though whether I know how to show any empathy.

Anonymous said...

What a powerful post. You describe the feeling so well.
(thank you for your comment on my blog)

Anonymous said...

The Creme list brought me here--importantly, because I very much needed to read this right now. Thanks for calling up Robinson and how she gets exactly what you show in the quote--the light and the dark, without underestimating the deep divide between. Loving that you give the very rare empathy to others of us feeling so, so angry not through platitudes but raw honesty about that rage.

how to write an annotated bibliography said...

The server contains useful information on information technology. Information is structured as an intuitive way.