The picture of fecundity and its excesses and of the pressures of growth and its accidents is of course no different from the picture I painted before of the world as an intricate texture of a bizarre variety of forms. Only now the shadows are deeper. Extravagance takes on a sinister, wastrel air, and exuberance blithers. When I added the dimension of time to the landscape of the world, I saw how freedom grew the beauties and horrors from the same live branch... That something is everywhere and always amiss is part of the very stuff of creation. --Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
While I embrace the idea of fruitfulness in nature, I shy away from considering its horror. I wonder how much my avoidance has to do with a strong desire to always rejoice. Yet, as Annie Dillard says, something is everywhere and always amiss. Indeed, Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
I mourned when I read Annie Dillard's chapter on fecundity. I wonder if she is missing something, dwelling too much on the physical. In the midst of sorrow, I consistently crave the ability to rejoice. Reality encompasses more than the material world.
But perhaps I am the one that is missing something. We are called to mourn with those that mourn. I struggle to do this, to share the grief of others. How do we altogether mourn *and* rejoice?
Key in the process must be "sorrowing not as those that have no hope". As we witness and partake in the pain, we must embrace a truth larger than the material world. It is a fine distinction that requires practice.