I’m not a person who underlines phrases that speak to me in books. I’m not one who even thinks that phrases speak to me in books. But during this project, I’m going to try and be that kind of person. I think it will add something to the discussions about the books and maybe even give you all a little insight into who I am.
For a book that I didn’t think was my “thing” at all, while reading Devotion I found myself bookmarking more pages than usual on my Kindle. But it wasn’t necessarily the spiritual journey that I related to. It was the fact that, like I mentioned yesterday, the author Dani Shapiro’s dad died when she was just 23 years old, just one year younger than I am now. It was an important moment in her life that she returns to again and again in her book. It was in these moments that I most connected with her. Two passages in particular stood out to me so this week is a double dose of “A Quote Worth Quoting.”
If “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is my least favorite bromide, my second least favorite is this: “Everything happens for a reason.”
When tragedy strikes, people don’t know what to say. They mean well, but it doesn’t always come out right. I get that. I don’t know what to say in those situations either. But I also get how phrases like the ones above can just drive you crazy. What is the reason that someone should suffer from a horrible disease or die too young or have any number of other catastrophe’s strike them? I think I’d rather believe in the randomness then think there was a logical reason for the pain. When sitting shiva, some well-intentioned person gave me a speech with the basic message that “only the good die young.” I think he meant it more spiritually than Billy Joel-y, but I got his point. But what does that mean? Those who live long are not as good? I really do appreciate all the support and kind messages I’ve received and don’t mean to belittle anyone’s thoughtfulness, it’s just, as Dani Shapiro points out, a difficult situation (for everyone involved I’m sure).
He died when I was young, and everything I am – everything I’ve become since that day – is because of him. Because I had to make his death mean something.
It was this passage, above all, that stood out to me though. I’m still young and it’s still so fresh that I don’t have any perspective yet. However, I’d like to think that one day when I become what I will become that it will be because of my mom (and my dad too!). In the mean time, I am working on making her death mean something. And I hope this blog is part of that.