The bees are buzzing the apple blossoms, the dandelions brightening the open fields with their yellow sunny faces, and the air is filled with a delicate intoxicant. Spring is bursting with hope and promise as we await the whole of our world to open back thanks to the vaccinations being administered to all. What a miracle and promise after this dark year! I know there are many hardships still all about the globe, and my heart is breaking for all the suffering where people still languish. [Please take a moment to do what you can to ease someone’s struggle today]. I understand my privilege to walk under blue skies and, for this brief moment, I invite you to stroll along and take in the wondrous beauty in my small world.
Sure we all know about the Big Lie that’s been circulating since the moment Trump knew he lost the presidential election, and those who read and study history know that the original description of the big lie appeared in Mein Kampf. But tonight I want to let all those lies die, about the stolen election or the false claims about COVID or the crazy’s view on the vaccine, and focus on truth. Not with a capital T, but little truths we all recognize. Take a look at the flowers on your windowsill or garden or in a nearby park. The red and yellow and green. Those universal truths about flowers and the joy they bring, both planting them and then waiting in anticipation for them to break through the soil, and then, oh my, watching them wave about in the afternoon sunshine. We can all agree on flowers, can’t we? Perhaps, as we navigate back to normalcy, whatever that might mean for you, we can collectively agree to love flowers, together, truly, again.
Virginia Woolf wrote, “Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices”(Woolf). I don’t really remember the first time I doubted the opinions of a character in a novel or when I realized that perhaps poetry did not always impart truth, but I do know that all those notions came together in quite a spectacular manner when I read Crime and Punishment. As early as page 2 Dostoyevsky invites readers into his very real and awful world,
The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, the bustle and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all about him, and that special Petersburg stench, so familiar to all who are unable to get out of town in summer—all worked painfully upon the young man’s already overwrought nerves. The insufferable stench from the pothouses, which are particularly numerous in that part of the town, and the drunken men whom he met continually, although it was a working day, completed the revolting misery of the picture. An expression of the profoundest disgust gleamed for a moment in the young man’s refined face. He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair. Soon he sank into deep thought, or more accurately speaking into a complete blankness of mind; he walked along not observing what was about him and not caring to observe it. From time to time, he would mutter something, from the habit of talking to himself, to which he had just confessed. At these moments he would become conscious that his ideas were sometimes in a tangle and that he was very weak; for two days he had scarcely tasted food.
The suspect mind of Raskolnikov was penned with the use of an omniscient point of view, and it is in that murky place that we begin our troubles. This narrator is not to be trusted on any account, his warped and privileged preoccupation with his own superiority clouds his vantage. Yet for many hundreds of pages we are led into his dangerous train of thought.