Thursday, March 30, 2017

"hell is the absence of the people you long for"

When Magnum and I go out for our nighttime old folks walks, now without China jingling beside us, we usually walk passed a neighborhood church.  The church has a lighted sign out front.  But unlike other churches that post their worship times and/or some bible verse, this church puts vague messages on its sign.

We try to interpret these brief advisories or lessons, like they're some cryptic fortune cookie message.  I gotta hand it to those church people.  The sign has a "made you look!" ability that makes us think, but we usually just come up with some comedic, often racy, interpretation.

The most recent notice reads, "Love Actually Suffering".

So we pondered that one a bit.  It felt like something was missing.  What's the subject?  The verb?  The object?

"I love actually suffering"?

"Love actually suffers"?

Eventually, I settled on, "Love is actually suffering", which made Magnum giggle nervously.  He assumed I was referring to him as my source of suffering.

But no (not this time...).  I loved our dog China, so now I suffer to walk without her.  I loved my parents, so now I suffer to no longer talk with them.  I love others, so when they suffer, I suffer too.  I love being healthy, when it's compromised, I suffer.  I love doing certain things, so when I can't do them, I suffer.  

If I didn't love anything, I wouldn't suffer.  We suffer because of what we miss.

Such is an underlying premise of the book, "Station Eleven", a novel set in a post-apocalyptic world after most of humanity has been wiped out by a mysterious and pervasive virus.  Sounds depressing, doesn't it?  Parts of it are.

Parts of it are dark, parts are beautiful, parts are heartbreaking, parts are poetic, parts are mournful, and parts are brilliant.  And it's never hopeless.

We humans need to do more than just survive.  We need "enrichment" in our lives.  This is not so much a book with a standard beginning, middle, and end.  So readers who like a meaty, suspenseful plot might not care so much for this one.  But it's a thoughtful book that touches the emotions.

I actually read this book over a year ago, but I remember it.  And I remember when I finished it, I knew I would miss it.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Book review!


John Holton said...

I think it's an imperative statement suggesting you learn to love actual suffering. But I could be wrong.

Michelle aka Naila Moon said...

Well, that was plain thought provoking! I may have to put this book on my TBR pile.
btw-I saw a church sign today that said, "Drive-thru prayer, 5:30-7:30"

Abby said...

There are many interpretations, I guess. If I love suffering, then not suffering becomes suffering, and then... Oh sheesh.

Abby said...

Ha, I can just see it - "You want fries with that?"

Morgan Cartwright said...

Adding another book to my list.

"Love is actually suffering", I agree with this in so many ways. If we didn't love, we would have no reason to suffer. There would be no reason to suffer because we didn't have those thoughts and feelings that we actually missed someone or something.

Linda Hensley said...

The fact you're still remembering this book is a sign that it was worth reading. I used to walk past a church that was missing its G. I'll always think of the Latter Day Saints as the "House of od.

Jimmy said...

I agree with Linda, if you still remember this book after a year is a sure sign that it is one worth reading.

Love Actually Suffering is really thought provoking, it could point to a lot of people in our society who love actually suffering, those who you can never please or who never have anything go their way and would have it no other way, maybe we need to reach out to those and help change this way of thinking for them somehow.

Abby said...

"Freedom is having nothing left to lose". Janice Joplin may have been strung out on drugs, but... true that.

Abby said...

Okay, that actually made me laugh out loud.

Abby said...

Makes me wonder how they got that way in the first place.

Kimberly said...

Books that - when you get to the final pages and you start feeling sad because you know you're going to miss it, are the bestest ones.
Life is so much more than surviving.
I am very intrigued by this book.

ShadowRun300 said...

We need enrichment to survive... yes we do. If you don't have it, you don't necessarily know you're missing it - unless you're lucky enough to finally find it. I was lucky enough to find it, but I know many others, a few of my kids included, that haven't found enrichment. It's what I hope for most for them.
I liked your take on Love Actually Suffering as well. My hubby and I are in the suffering part of our relationship. And it's making us love each other more.
As Jimmy said, very thought provoking post. :)

Abby said...

I've heard of people who have underground bunkers stocked with a year's worth of provisions. I'm thinking, "who wants to live in an underground bunker?"
No thanks!

Abby said...

Your kids have enrichment. Getting some financial independence while having enrichment can be a challenge!
I'll take suffering over a lobotomy 🙂

KatBouska said...

I read this book last year and really loved it too! But I didn't do hardly any of your deep thinking.