Sunday, November 13, 2005

From "In Memoriam"

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life will be destroy’d,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last – far off – at last to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream; but what am I?
An infant crying in the night;
An infant crying for the light,
And with no language, but a cry.

* * *

This is one of the perennial problems of life: what is suffering worth? We trust it is worth something; even in the depths of sorrow we can trust this, and yet we cannot know what it is worth.

What good can possibly come of this evil? Is it not, instead, my own fault, and not God's will, so that only evil will come of it? And yet, even out of our own sins God can draw forth some lesson for us, some good he intends for us.

Yet, in the moment of suffering, this can be little comfort.

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