Monday, September 25, 2006

A Pillar of Salt

I was reading a book review on NY Times, Daniel Mendelsohn's "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million" and was struck with this passage (in reference to Lot's wife who looked back at the tragegy of Soddom and Gommorah and was turned into a pillar of salt):

"Mendelsohn believes sages like Rashi and other commentators miss the emotional appeal and peril of the backward glance. But Mendelsohn sees the episode as a warning that “regret for what we have lost, for the pasts we have to abandon, often poisons any attempt to make a new life.” For those compelled to look “back at what has been, rather than forward into the future,” he writes, “the great danger is tears, the unstoppable weeping that the Greeks ... knew was not only a pain but a narcotic pleasure, too: a mournful contemplation so flawless so crystalline, that it can, in the end, immobilize you.”

I know what this feels like. It reminds me of that absurd fight my family had last weekend regarding a dog and a cat. Vier mentioned to me that it wasn't really the dog or cat that we were fighting about. We were fighting about old wounds. Wounds so old, so bitter that they can't help rearing their ugly heads when the opportunity comes. Vier commented that we have to move on. We can't stay bitter. We have to learn how to let go of these tears.

Sometimes it is not happiness at all that addicts us but sorrow. It is what we need to let go of the most so that we can finally let some sunshine in.

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