27.12.11

"Maybe this was why monks embraced such fathomless silence: they'd glimpsed how deep grief really was and understood that to grieve properly they had to sink from sight. They'd discovered that love lived at the bottom of grief, the love you couldn't bring to the surface because the daylight and the bright air and the business of everyday life twisted it into something unrecognisable, something that inevitably seemed crude.
She had never allowed herself to grieve wholly before, she realised now. Not for her father, not for her grandparents. Not even for her marriage: she'd never allowed herself to face what it meant to fail in the central relationship of her life. To really remember that shining, innocent love she'd felt and everything that had happened to it. And this was why, of course: because some pragmatic, self-protective sense had told her that grief was bottomless. Skirting this sea, she had dipped her toes in: she's wondered what would happen if she crossed the line, but it had always seemed that it could only be a kind of defeat, a drowning, a death. And so it was. But maybe it was not the end, to be defeated bylife. Maybe that was even part of what it meant to be a human being: to recognise the ways in which life had finally defeated you to accept the ways in which death had come, to stop looking away from the failures of love, and to grieve. To keep your heart open to the sea of this silence; to drift in it, surrendering to its currents, baffled and without recourse. And at the bottom of it, to be surprised anew by loves simplicity. To feel that nothing had been lost."

-Tim Farrington, "The Monk Downstairs"

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