For one of the three bookclubs I’m in, I began reading an autobiography written by a man who has been absolutely shredded in body and soul by a lifetime of intense abuse. He gave fair warning in the prelude, in words that provided no hint that there was peace or hope or reaffirmation waiting at the end. Mostly, he makes his chronicle as a grasp at therapy, uncertain of the possibility of such.
I knew it would not be enjoyable, and I am not seeking to gawk and cluck over the shocking misfortune of others. I still determined to read on, though my heart already labors under the effort to hold on to light and love in days of dark tidings.
I feel we owe it to the burdened and suffering to take notice, and not succumb to the ease that would abandon them to their suffering, turning away to willfully ignore. I do not like to read the details of his pain, but more I do not want to leave unheeded his efforts to no longer carry it alone , I will join the lamentation and burn at injustice. I am an unknown stranger, but when emotion wells forth in response to another’s trauma, that is a small contribution to not after all letting evil hold sway.
It makes me think of the moral and soul aspects of responding to refugees, to the starving, to the abused and poor and addicted diseased. How dare we look away? To dismiss the sympathy that sounds in human hearts, in such close kin to love, risks all.
The book is “Kicked in the Teeth,” by James Rowe.