Home (Part 2)

Samantha loved contentment. She loved the temporal now, but disdained the eternal now, and what’s tragic is that she was completely oblivious to this fact. A bourgeois existence pleased her, and gatherings, social events, people and nature thrilled and exhilarated her. She never investigated her true spiritual condition, although she professed to be in Christendom. She was spiritless, but longed for rich aesthetic experiences, and when she received them believed that they were signs of her union with God.

In this world we have hedonists and thrill seekers, introspective quiet people, lovers and quarrellers, but irrespective if you’re rich or poor, logical or creative, impassioned or bitter, you’re in despair, and the worst despair is the ignorance of despair. The false peace that lulls a deceitful heart, telling a terminally ill spiritual you that you’re rosy cheeked and healthy. And this false peace is found in chiefly two kinds of people: The hedonists and the embittered. The former live in a continuous state of pleasure and try satisfying all their desires and lusts. They live a life of wild, reckless abandonment and they’re happy, but here’s the mystery they’re secretly unaware of: If you peeled the layers of the onion, you’ll find that they’re just as sick as people who’re self-conscious and despondent. The latter have seen so much hurt, loneliness and bone-crushing pain, and develop a self-righteousness. You’ll find some of them in the realm of professing Christendom; others in other religions—monotheistic and polytheistic, and still others in even atheism. Their pain sadly gives them a false sense of entitlement and their motto becomes, ‘we’re good people,’ and this shroud of false gold envelopes them and when confronted, they become indignant. And this in one sense creates the self-righteous elder son in that famous parable in the Gospel.

Samantha had seen so much pain in her life; she’d endured many trials, and this gave her a false sense of entitlement. Jude wasn’t a good husband. He’d both verbally and physically abused Samantha so many times, but his veneration for her made her love him and accept him each time he came back guilt-ridden and wept and apologized. ‘You’re my angel,’ he’d say, and this kept the wheels of a rocky relationship moving, until the day Jude found God, and confronted Samantha with tears in his eyes, begging her to see that she was lost. This tilted their world upside down and suddenly the roles changed, and Jude found himself backed against a wall while Samantha hurled abuses and screamed and shouted.

Oh, the mystery of God’s ways! Who can fathom him? He gives the degenerate an introspective, self-conscious mind and the polite a mind that refuses to dig deep because it’s terrified. Jude needed to break the cycle of abuse and so he didn’t seek Samantha and sought God and found him in repentance and knew that another died in his place, that another took his sickness unto death upon himself.

But Jude’s conversion didn’t last because he returned to venerating Samantha, and then backslid. The intense love in his heart for Christ faded and he slowly stopped feeling altogether. Jude succumbed to fatalism. He was intensely aware of his despair, but couldn’t see God as a possibility anymore, just a necessity and this in many ways is a demon’s despair. And Jude slowly became twice the demon he once was, and the vicious cycle emerged again. But something was different this time. Jude both hated and venerated Samantha, and his veneration now was more of a conscious effort, and Samantha saw through this and couldn’t forgive Jude like she once did anymore. So while the old pattern continued, a new one of distrust paralleled it.

(Inspired by The Sickness unto Death by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller)

Part 1

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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16 Comments

  1. I’ve never read Kierkegaard – I guess I’m too scared. Yeah… And I also think I would’ve liked to have been a hedonist – at least for a while, but the opportunity never presented itself. Great couple of pieces of writing once again Nitin. (And thank God things are getting paragraphed – this is from my point of view – you silly bugger – not from the point of view of the creative artist that you are.)

    1. Oh he’s not scary Bruce, he’s terrifying! He’ll make you keep looking within until you absolutely detest yourself. And thank you. Ha ha. I’ll start paragraphing them more.

        1. Yup. I just hope it’s not too thick. There are different types of Indian accents. If you went to a place like Kerala you’ll find an extremely strange accent. North Indians have their own coarse accent which often complements their brash ways and people from the North East also have a distinct accent. I live in Bangalore although I might move. I don’t think my accent is the Bangalorean accent if there is any such thing, although people who speak Kannada have their own peculiar accent. I think mine is a mix of accents picked up from here and there even though I don’t move around much!

        2. I guess it’s a bit like the New Zealand versus Australian accent. I can tell an Australian a million miles away, but most non-New Zealanders/non-Australians think we speak the same. New Zealanders say “Fush und chups” whereas Australians say “Fesh end Cheps”.

        3. And also let me know if I got the Socratic definition of sin right. I understood the Kierkegaardian definition, but then Kierkegaard confuses me by going a little more in depth about Socratic ignorance. I’ll have to read it again.

        4. You don’t realize how thick I really am… ! I have no clue what Socrates said about sin – all I know is that people in the modern world think that sin is something God devised – whereas sin is going against who we are – e.g. we desire the truth and get f**kin angry when someone tells us a lie. So a lie is a sin.

        5. It’s found later in the series. SO STOP DWELLING ON MY ACCENT AND READ! Kidding. Most of my new followers are businessmen. I want the writers in the audience, just like a magician wants to both entertain and be watched carefully by more experienced ones when he performs.

    1. Thank you so much Tara. I’m glad you’re walking this journey with me. I did a lot of writing today and some of it shook me and hurt me badly, but I’m glad I persisted. It’s always good to hear from you.

  2. Nitin, your work sometimes reminds me of conversations I have had with my husband and many people we have met over the years, through his work, through conferences etc, but you articulate it all so creatively, I love it!
    I also liked hearing your voice! I am glad you added that. And I admire your genuine pursuit of answers.

    1. Thank you so much Vanessa. I did get a few answers over the course of writing this series. But there are still some things that I desperately want to know. And I felt the need to do the voice recording. Thank you for listening. I’m glad you liked it.

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