THIS IS WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN


we have many faces, one each for every situation, but there is one particular one I want to mention: the face that surfaces at night when no one is watching, and pain, psychic or physical, is keeping you from blessed sleep. Your partner, too, is sleeping, and you are entirely alone, the kind of alone that is our essential being, the kind of alone we are born and die with, the kind of lonely suffering that even God can’t take away or mitigate. Though we can rejoice with others, we suffer alone even though there are others who share our suffering and do whatever they possibly can to alleviate it.

The image that came to me last night — I couldn’t see this night face, just like I can’t see my other life faces (isn’t that an interesting fact: though we see all else, we can’t see ourselves? Can’t see our eyes seeing?) — was of sitting on a very pop able bubble above a very dark, very deep abyss. And the words came to me: this is what it is to be human

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