what is lost...

for one of my courses, i had to read from "pathologies of power" by paul farmer. he is a brilliant man with excellent ideas on human rights, global health, poverty, etc.

here is an excerpt from his afterword:

...is it really useless to complain? ...writing about human suffering runs many risks, and most of these risks have been the subject of too much commentary. but there is also the artifice of packaging something so it offends the senses, but not too much. surely this too is a marker of lost innocence.
...i contemplate my own loss of innocence with resentful, sometimes even tearful, silence. from whom can i demand it back? as garcĂ­a lorca said, "things that go away never return--everybody knows that."
everybody knows that things that go away never return.
-paul farmer

i have had many conversations with survivors of sexual violence, and the one thing i hear more than any other is, "it will never come back." collectively, they say their: virginity, innocence, dignity, and a whole number of other things that were taken from them during the act will never return. i've often thought about this, and wondered the same thing that paul farmer did: from whom can they demand it back? is it really useless to complain?

one of the cutest little munchkins from
the orphanage in ecuador
these are all answers, or rather questions, i am currently grappling with in striving for justice in such a place we live in. yet, after countless hours discussing what we can do to change this world, to make it a little more beautiful, i find solace i knowing that there are so many people out there striving to do just that. people who give strangers smiles, compliments, and even hugs. people leaving concerts that let that one car that's been waiting forever sneak in in front of them. that person at the grocery store that goes above and beyond telling you their favorite way to cook the chicken when all you asked was if it was on sale.

and then i smile to myself, knowing one thing for certain: even if we can not regain our innocence, or those things we have lost that do not come back, we can always replace the space with something beautiful.


Amy Lovell said...

So, does this mean my cat that ran away isn't coming back? Sad day. Joking (kind of) aside, that was beautifully written. I'm jealous of your masters program, it sounds awesome.

anitamombanita said...

You will be filling a lot of voids in people's lives...already are...I know this. Love you.

Viviana said...

You are right. As we heard in conference today: "is is better to look up"- TS Monson. (spiritually) looking up is not a one time experience and that is the beauty of it. This is an experience that we want to repeat and that leaves us with many satisfied feelings. Love you.

julie said...

I love what you said. And I think one of the best ways to "get back" what we lost is to exercise faith in the Atonement. Of course things will never be as they were before, but it helps us move forward as a stronger person.

Allison said...

Beautiful thoughts--thank you.

Grace Grayling said...

A beautiful, poignant blog post. Thank you.

I read Farmer for one of my anthropology classes and was so moved by the quote you posted, I don't think I've been the same since.