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the virtue of a broken heart

it's strange to realize the role that hurtful things, or negative stuff, play in our lives. to say we "need" a broken heart somehow feels sacriligeous - to tempt fate - or say what shouldn't be said. so maybe i shouldn't say it? i don't know. maybe. but, ultimately, i don't mean it in an ostentatious way. i mean the opposite. and it feels important to try to parse one from the other, and see if it's possible to say one without the other. somehow. even if it's not.

i guess most of what i'm trying to say boils down to something very simple. maybe obvious? just that painful stuff has a way of teaching us and grounding us and making us grow up like nothing else does. and it's needed. cuz it's never something we'd choose on our own. it's something we wake up with, suddenly, unavoidably, without warning. it's something we try to avoid and deny and run from. and maybe that's as it should be? but it's also inevitable. and inescapable. and an inborn piece of every human experience. each of us learns to manage that and make sense of it in our own way - religion, learning, poetry, skill, art, passion, career, sex - all seem woven in and around it. and in some ways (most or all ways probably?) the cause and effect are blurrily interrelated. hm.

i wish i could say it better. i'm floundering here, i realize.

in my own inarticulately roundabout way, episode 126 is about the realization that pain serves a necessary role. not in the neat ordered philosophical aphoristic everything-feels-ok way (not for most of us, anyway). but, alongside the niceties of whatever words we might use to describe it, there's the real thing - the down-in-the-bones hurts-like-hell no-way-out feeling of it. which can (and does) create a space and need for something more. and, as nick cave says in his essay "the secret life of the love song," from which - art, god, weight, work, are often the beautiful and natural and difficult outgrowths.

i don't know if this is true. but it feels like it is. to me. deeply. and, at the same time, it's hard to say in a way that puts emphasis on the real heart of it without slipping into the false, cliche, over simplified, ways in which "pain is good!" optimism obviously misses the point. cuz it's not good. in any way at all. i don't think there's any honest way to even suggest such a thing. death, disease, evil, injustice, poverty, prejudice, hate. the whole thing is wrong. my bones want it to be better and different and more. and it just isn't. it's just this, here and now, wrong, wrong, wrong thing. and yet - in the middle of this - we get to respond. and what we do makes a difference. for real. both are true.

i don't understand it. i doubt there *is* any human understanding of these things when it comes down to it. it's like asking "what's the point?" to god or art or love. the question itself is absurd. cuz there isn't one. or, there is - but it's not an idea anyone can say. the point is a feeling. this one. as it moves. and if we have to ask, i guess the absurdity itself becomes its own kind of answer. ;)

i hope you're well tonight, wherever you are. if you have time, i'd love to share tonight's podcast with you.

don't forget the links:

julius caesar (aka ryan) - myspace.com/thekoedonarmada

patrick swayze - on wiki
nick cave - on wiki
nick cave's lecture - secret life of the love song
philosopher - reinhold neibuhr
poet - w.h. auden

the church i'm going to - uusf.org

happy wednesday,


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