When I read a book, if one passage or another in particular appeals to me I tend to turn down a very tiny corner of that page so I can revisit those words when I’m done with the book. I’ve done it before; it’s sort of a mini-book club discussion forum with my own brain. Why did these words speak to me? What memories or actions did I recall when reading this paragraph? How did these words make me feel?
Recently, I gulped down Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’d borrowed the book from Jamie finally, my curiosity piqued by other reviews. These were my turned-down pages:
But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me?
This is what we are like. Collectively, as a species, this is our emotional landscape. I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, “There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.
So, during lunch one day, we were all having this conversation together about marriage, and the plumber/poet from New Zealand said, “I see marriage as an operation that sews two people together, and divorce is a kind of amputation that can take a long time to heal. The longer you were married, or the rougher the amputation, the harder it is to recover.”
I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism.
Have you read this book? Did you find any passages that made you a little introspective, that make you think? If you haven’t read this one, have you read anything else recently that made you want to turn down a few pages? Leave a comment and let me know!