the utterly vast spaces between us

In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable – which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

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  1. Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh, so lovely, Lindsey. Thanks for bringing my attention to these particular words.

  2. Posted January 31, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Last night we had something happen that made another family’s torture collide with our relative calm. The quiet of the night pierced by screams, revving engines, and then shouting. Later the red and blue strobing lights of police cars, then more shouting. My heart raced, my memory flashed back to times when I was inside of those sounds, trapped.

    What if the spaces, or at the least the capacity for compassion, weren’t such chasms?