The reason you are here on earth

“Life will break you.  Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning.  You have to love.  You have to feel.  It is the reason you are here on earth.  You are here to risk your heart.  You are here to be swallowed up.  And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness.  Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

– Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

(I’m an enormous Erdrich fan – this blog is named for a quotation from The Bingo Palace.  I’d read these lines before, and underlined them, and cried over them, and shared them.  But I read them last week on Ananda, and was reminded of them at just the right moment.)


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10 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2011 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    And apparently I needed to be reminded twice.

    Thank you.

    Deep breathes and tears…

    Love to you.

  2. Posted October 28, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I simply love this quote. I felt like I am sitting in that pile of apples now and it’s so good to know I’m not alone.

    Does Ananda have a Twitter handle? She has a beautiful site–thanks for the link, the quote, the blog, everything!

  3. Posted October 28, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    You’ve read “Finding Your Inner Mama,” right? I’m sure you have, if you’re an Erdrich fan. I have a very-depressed friend whose “dream” is to be a hermit, to “escape life.” This quote is a reminder that none of us can do that. Even hermits.

  4. Posted October 28, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous. (Reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ similar comment: “Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. […] To love is to be vulnerable.”)

  5. Jess Hruby
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    If you ever find yourself visiting Minneapolis, a trip to Ms. Erdrich’s book store Birch Bark Books is a must!

    http://birchbarkbooks.com/

  6. Posted October 28, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Lindsey, you bring beauty into my life every day. Love this so much. Thank you.

  7. Posted October 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    My heart broke at “wasting their sweetness.” Thank you for another thoughtful quotation.

  8. Margaret
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Seeing another Margaret make a comment was the universe telling me that it’s truly my turn. I too look forward to your blog daily. I read your birthday letter to Grace (a tradition I started long ago for my almost 12-year-old son, but sadly did not continue) to my family, including my 9-year old daughter. She understood why I read it once she heard it – noting that I say so many of the same things to her (glad she thinks so!). You are an inspiration and I relate to you on SO many levels. I can only aspire to handle life, with all its beauty, chaos and curveballs, as mindfully and gracefully as you do. Keep it all up, your blog is a blessing and your love-filled energetic vibrations jump off the computer screen! Thank you!

  9. Posted October 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    WOW! This quote is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’m on that precipice of needing to love unabashedly and yet wanting to keep my heart safe in solitude.
    I love that idea of sitting under and apple tree and watching the apples waste their sweetness as they fall from the branches. I need to tattoo that image somewhere because it’s one I’m likely to forget 😀 Thanks Lindsey! xxx

  10. Posted October 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful! I love this paragraph. It really reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote along the same lines, which I’m sure you’ve read. It has a bit darker of a turn, but I love it as well: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

    Thank you for your postings, they indeed uplift.