Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words To Ponder

"Fairly late in the catastrophic phase of my illness, I began to understand three facts I'd known in theory since early childhood but had barely plumbed the reality of.  They're things familiar to most adults who've bothered to watch the visible world and have sorted their findings with normal intelligence,  but abstract knowledge tend to vanish in a crisis. And from where I've been, the three facts stand at the head of any advice I'd risk conveying to a friend confronted with grave illness or other physical and psychic trauma. 
1. You're in your present calamity alone, fars as this life goes. If you want a way out, then dig it yourself, if there turns out to be any trace of a way. Nobody - least of a doctor - can rescue you now, not from the deeps of your own mind, not once they've stitched your gaping wound. 
2. Generous people - true practical saints, some of them boring as root canals - are waiting to give you everything on Earth but your main want, which is simply the person you used to be. 
3. But you're not that person now. Who'll you be tomorrow? And who do you propose to be from here to the grave, which may be hours or decades down the road?" 
~ Reynolds Price in A Whole New Life

This was such a worthwhile read. This man lived a path that I wouldn't wish on my dearest enemy. Can't wait to read more of his stuff.



Peter said...

you could start by listening to James Taylor singing New Hymn, with lyrics by Reynolds Price (Google it), and picking up some of Price's novels. I'd suggest reading one from before his cancer, and one during the latter, more productive period.

Hope said...

Peter - that song is touching me deeply. Thank you so much for letting me know about it. I am a huge James Taylor fan but hadn't heard it before.

Peter said...

In a lighter vein, you might give a listen (or re-listen) to Copperline, also by James Taylor with lyrics by Reynolds Price. That was their only collaboration, and you'll read about it in A Whole New Life.