Thursday, June 11, 2009
Not Even God...when Disappointed
I keep coming back to the chapter "Bonhoeffer on Disappointment" in a book edited by Brian Rosner entitled "Consolations of Theology". That particular chapter (the one i noted above) is the one that Rosner wrote and it was brilliantly done as he writes how Bonhoeffer dealt with disappointment. I'll probably do a post on that chapter as a whole somewhere in the distant or near future but I'd like to draw our attention on this particular passage from the book.
On a subheading that reads "Popular Strategies" on dealing with disappointment Rosner mentions four ways in which people in general deal with it. The first being 'wallowing in regret' followed by 'seeking to curb desire', the third 'seeking a substitute' and the last being 'giving up hope for the thought of hope in the afterlife'. But as Rosner writes, Bonhoeffer never resorted to these popular ways in dealing with disappointment.
On the third popular startegies on dealing with disappointment, as i mentioned above, Bonhoeffer did not cave in and followed the popular way on dealing with disappointment, in that he did not seek a substitute to find momentary happiness as a consolation for unattained or unfulfilled desire or longings. Rosner writes "Seeking compensation elsewhere when our desires are frustrated also seems logical enough."(116) I find this true of how we ussually deal with disappointment, we might have a compulsion to buy things, fill ourselves with activities that are filled with 'fun', in a temporary way to combat a wounded heart. Read the following exerp from Rosner here which blew me away on what Bonhoeffer thought about this:
"With respect to seperation from love ones, aware of the pain that he may be prolonging, Bonhoeffer nontheless avers: "Some people...find compensation in short-lived pleasures that offer redier satisfactions...When we are forcibly seperated for any considarable length of time from those we love, we simply cannot, as most can, get some cheap substitute through other people- I don't mean because of moral considerations...we have to suffer unspeakably from the seperation, and feel the longing till it almost makes us ill. That is the only way...in which we can preserve unimpaired our relationship with our loved ones." He insists that "nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love." Not even God: "It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn't fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so help us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even in the cost of pain."" (116)
I wrote this in the margins of my book after reading this passage, a spur in the moment kind of thing: This third point embraces pain (longing) to the fullest/ at it's fullest level. There is absolutely no compensation for our longings...in the end they (our longings) become a drive in us (in a way that it pushes us).
What do you think of the exerpt above from the book? Or particularly the statement that said "It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn't fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so help us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even in the cost of pain."
- OIL TOWN, SWK, Malaysia
- I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations