Betty Duffy

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Don't Read Books Just to Get to the Last Page

From the archives, this time, last year:

No, if all I cared about when reading is what happens on the last page, or even in the last chapter, what would be the point of muddling through the first 300 pages? What I loved about "A Thousand Acres" is that each character was real, meaning, they were good people, who encountered evil and succombed to it. They made mistakes, as every human being does. During those 300 pages some of those characters were redeemed, and a couple of them were damned. So they all died in the end? Well isn't the death of the body the natural culmination of life on earth? Some of my favorite reads of all time are tragedies (the Kristin Lavransdatter series comes to mind, Anna Karenina...).

But in every tragedy there are at least a few survivors who carry on the story. They are there on those last pages to tsk tsk at the unnecessary suffering that occurred in those pages, at how it all could have been different if our beloved characters had made better choices or had not been seduced by evil that appeared good, or had they just been born into different circumstances. And the story is told so that others may glean from it what they can and try their darndest not to succomb to the same evils.

What I'm getting at is that the end of a tragedy is rarely the end of the story. Sometimes it's the beginning of a new story of change and renewed hope. Sometimes it is the beginning of a new and entirely different tragedy. Unfortunately, the history of man has been a testimony of many different tragedies, each a new reincarnation built on a hubris that says, "We will be different. We will not succomb like those people did." Each tragedy is unique.

Interspersed in these tragedies are also moments of great joy and accomplishment. I agree with Pedge that last night America saw an amazing triumph in the election of an African American to the highest office of our country. I am happy that many Americans who have been persecuted in the past and who have felt marginalized by the political scene in America feel that their voices have been heard. But all too often triumph rides on the shoulders of tragedy. I wish I could have, in good conscience, ridden the crest of that wave and rejoiced with so many other Americans. But my heart is still with that small voice that got trampled last night: those millions of Americans who have never had the opportunity to elect anyone, who have never seen an election, because in their weakness they were denied the right to life. Someone read the first page of their lives, was not interested, and closed the book.

My HOPE for CHANGE in this upcoming presidency is that the tragedy of the years since Roe Vs Wade will be redeemed, that President Elect Barack Obama really will listen to those with whom he disagrees and unite the people he represents. I know in my heart, however, that this is too much to ask of any one man, except my Father in Heaven, and so I am striving to be a person of faith, not of fear. Congratulations Barack Obama. It will be an INTERESTING story.


Gretchen Joanna said...

Hello, Betty,
I want so much to post a comment on EmilyJ's Back Bay View, but her comment format is not compatible with my own account. I think this must be the case for other people, or she would get more comments on her delightful and engaging posts.
It has been discovered that if the comment format is set to "pop-up," more people can leave comments. You seem to know EmilyJ personally, and your comment format permits me to post, which is why I am dropping in. Could you let her know that I am an admirer asking her to consider adjusting that setting?
Thank you!

Betty Duffy said...

Gretchen, Emily is my sister. I'd be glad to let her know. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to hear from you. Thanks for getting in touch.

jenX said...

I've been working on a blog post for sometime now. It's been a gut-wrenching ride. One thing about Generation X that people often point to are our low numbers. We're at 48 million compared to 78 million boomers and 74 million gen Y. As best as I can ascertain from my research, following roe v wade in 1973, one in every third pregnancy ended in abortion. this is a contributing factor (along with birth control) of why our numbers are so low. we always hear that gen x was born during the biggest anti-child phase in modern history - maybe in the history of the world????? who knows. one thing is for sure, nobody is talking about the impact all the abortions had on our generation. everytime i hear someone say that Gen X has produced no greats, i think, oh yes we did...