Sunday, April 09, 2006

screaming along side you

i've been spending a lot of time with susan howatch lately and i'm finishing up the seventh book in the starbridge novels, absolute truths. her insight into the human psyche and ministry is astounding to me, especially for a lawyer!

this last book is woven so intricately together it amazes me. i have wanted to blog bits throughout the whole series, but pass them by and keep reading. this one passage, especially during lent has not left me alone.

a little back history, the bishop and the son of his spiritual director are deep in conversation. it is an unsual pairing as the son is a homosexual actor who has always felt judged by the bishop, but they find themselves both in a time of need grieving the end of meaningful relationships and errors in judgement. i have no idea if this will translate to someone who hasn't read the book or series, but just in case i want to post it here:

"After Lyle died I hit the scotch,"

"Did you Charles? Did you really? But how hard did you hit it?"

"Hard enough to be hung-over."

"How wonderfully reassuring! But of course you then pulled yourself together and behaved like a paragon."

"Not quite."

"Honestly? In that case perhaps I can feel a little less disgusted with myself. I didn't behave like a paragon at all when I finally emerged from Banbury."

"Difficult to get back to normal?"

"Crucifying. I was so bloody lonely that I was even tempted to head for a red-light district. I'm sorry, I know how sorid that sounds --"

"No need to apologise."

"Anyway, in the end I resisted the red light and jumped into bed with an old friend instead. I'm sure you must find it quite incomprehensible that I should have done such a thing --"

"Not at all."

"-- and I wish to hell now that I'd abstained, but because it turned out to be a damn fool thing to do and there's bound to be an unpleasant scene waiting for me later. God, isn't life bloody sometimes!"


"Are you just saying that to be nice to me?"


"Thank God. Lord, this is a damned odd conversation to be having with a bishop! Excuse me while i jut pinch myself to make sure I"m not dreaming --"

"It's no dream. Good to meet someone else who's gone through hell lately."

"Isn't it wonderful.? It makes all the difference to know there's someone else screaming alongside you -- and that's the point of the Incarnation, I can see that so clearly now. God came into the world and screamed alongside us...."
Susan Howatch, Absolute Truths, 1994, pg. 307
screaming alongside us. that reduced me to a puddle of tears. what a beautiful way to look at the incarnation. hope it lifts you too.

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