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Suffering


Its Radiant Affliction: #Blessed by Empire, Wounded by God

On the day when The weight deadens On your shoulders And you stumble, May the clay dance To balance you. (‘Beannacht,’ John O’Donohue) When my grandmother slanders someone, she always follows it with benevolence. “He’s dumb as a rock,” she’ll say, “bless his heart.” “She ain’t worth a plugged nickel, bless her heart.” I think […]

Carrion Comfort

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

   Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

 

Featured image credit: Deepak sankat

My Besetting Sin: A Reflection on Mass Shootings

This past weekend, I came face-to-face with one of my besetting sins. “Besetting sins,” as in, the sins that serve as particular nuisances to my body and spirit. Everyone has at least one, I think. Of course, we all have all of them. It’s just that we’re usually prone to one or two above the […]

Moral Ground Must Be Shored Up By Mercy: In Memory of Toni Morrison

“She is a friend of my mind… The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.” So wrote the famed novelist Toni Morrison in Beloved, in a passage describing a love that goes deeper than the physical, engendering self-worth. Such love runs throughout many of the […]

I Died and Didn’t Go To Heaven: Grace, Grief, and the Big Question – Connor Gwin

Up next in our series of conference videos, Mockingbird contributor Connor Gwin tells of his sudden cardiac arrest and subsequent resuscitation. Thus the big questions are raised, and linen pants are worn, and Steel Magnolias is watched — and the reality of life and death is confronted. This talk is for anyone who has ever wondered “what comes next.”

I Died and Didn’t Go To Heaven: Grace, Grief, and the Big Question – Connor Gwin from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

When Reconciliation Was the Most Obvious Thing in the World: An Excerpt from Robert Farrar Capon’s The Youngest Day

From Chapter 14, “The Funeral,” in Robert Farrar Capon’s collection of seasonal musings, “The Youngest Day”: Late one evening I was with a group of people who were having an extended series of nightcaps after the funeral of a common friend. We’d all known him well, and as the night wore on and tongues got […]

All Suffering Great and Small: What Jeff Tweedy Learned in Rehab

Several of the people I know who are thinking about seeing a therapist seem to be hung up on the idea that they haven’t suffered enough compared to other people. There’s the notion that, somehow, the depression they’re experiencing is discrediting someone else’s more legitimate depression. Meanwhile, it seems whenever people vent about some universal struggle […]

Dead to Me: A Dark Comedy of Forgiveness

This one was written by Sam Guthrie. In the Netflix original series, Dead to Me, Judy (Linda Cardellini) helps Jen (Christina Applegate) cope with the sudden loss of her husband, Ted. The two form an unlikely friendship tracking down Jen’s husband’s killer in the pristine landscape of Malibu. Thanks to Liz Feldman, the creator of […]

The One Kind of Prosperity Gospel Kate Bowler Believes In

This is one for the ages, from the author of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Watch with tissues nearby. You’ve been warned:

Sobriety Broke Me to Pour Me Out

Grateful for this one, by Erin Jean Warde. Months ago, I decided to quit drinking. I have chronic migraines and sometimes face depression. I wondered if maybe something that gives me headaches wasn’t the best for chronic headaches. I wondered if maybe a depressant wasn’t the best beverage for depression. I don’t have a particularly […]

Beggars, a Poem: Notes on Need and Circumstance

This reflection and accompanying poem come to us from Becky Carlozzi. The night before my husband and I left for our fifteen-year anniversary trip to Italy, I received a phone call that my friend had been arrested and would spend several weeks in jail. The following day, staring out a window at 30,000 feet, I […]

Game Over: A Broken King, a Scapegoat, and an Imputed Legacy on Game of Thrones

It’s been a fun ride, fellow Game of Thrones viewers. But all games must end, and most of them have a winner. It seems silly to warn that spoilers abound now that the show is over, yet spoilers abound below! One of the things that made Game of Thrones such a popular show was its […]