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Strange words like "cottage" and "meadow," not to mention "goose-girl. It was somehow possible not to dwell on her insomnia and migraines, her withdrawals and depressions, her sanitariums and pills, her slapping of her own cheeks and tearing at her own hair and beating on her own head with a clothes hanger, the long nights at a dark window and the drenching rain that fell on her open book and her uncovered head as she sat in the yard in the middle of a storm.

Something had gone wrong. His father, Arieh, had been obliged for perhaps too much of his Odessa boyhood to dress up as a girl with pink bows in his hair, in a thick soup of rabbis, hog-bristle dealers, freethinkers, smokers-in-public, eaters of forbidden food, admirers of Epicurus and Voltaire and literary types like Bialik. With degrees from the University of Vilna and Mount Scopus, he could recite poetry in 10 languages, hated folklore, magic and mysticism, "suspected everyone who made a living from religion of some kind of sugared charlatanism" and longed to profess literature like his uncle, but had to settle for a lowly position at the National Library, writing books at night about the Hebrew novella or the concise history of world literature.

His unkind son suggests Arieh may never have managed "to reconcile himself to his own mediocrity. So afraid of silence was Arieh that he filled it with bad jokes and pedantry. From him his son would learn, whether or not he wanted to, "that in Hebrew the word for childlessness is not unrelated to the word for darkness, because both imply a lack, a lack of children or a lack of light.

Moreover, the word for "woods" in Hebrew is similar to the words for "deaf," "silent," "industry" and "plowing. After Fania's suicide, father and son spent the winter refusing to open a window in their basement apartment. Later, they would disagree about Kafka and socialism.

At least the son permits his readers to forgive the father -- if only for trying to charm bullets back into the magazine of a gun by reciting patriotic Polish poetry, followed by Ovid and Pushkin, then Homer in ancient Greek, Chaucer in Middle English and the Nibelungenlied in German. And for waving goodbye to the wrong bus when Amos left for the kibbutz.

On that kibbutz, a symbolic parricide, Amos would change his last name to Oz, which means "courage" in Hebrew. At first, the boy hated his mother. She hadn't even loved him enough to say goodbye: "To forsake is to betray.

Surrender To Darkness (Book 5) | Valerie Twombly

But what she couldn't stand, it seems to me, was the tawdriness. Now he has thought it all through to a bitter abstraction: "Both my parents had come to Jerusalem straight from the 19th century.


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Israel, the nation-building reality, would be cruel to both of them, and self-orphaned Amos would be left to commune with Spinoza in the desert. No wonder the wounded emblematic child shows up so often in his novels, from Boaz in "Black Box," with "the look of Jesus in a Scandinavian icon," to Dimi in "Fima," that "slightly cross-eyed albino child-philosopher with thick glasses, dressed in an American astronaut's space suit," to dreamy Immanuel in "Don't Call It Night," who "seemed to live inside a bubble of winter even in summer" and jumped to his death in the development town of Tel Kedar, to year-old Proffi in "Panther in the Basement," whose friendship with a British soldier in the summer of causes his comrades to accuse him of treason.

All of them internalize a permanent political crisis, an emergency that never stops screaming.

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How Israeli writers, like the Chinese or the Nigerians, must long to deliver to us some dreamwork of love and landscape, solitude and community, discrepancy and transcendence, without the stink of politics. How tired even the Peace Now novelists must have become of being read through smoke and spittle. Yehoshua and Aharon Appelfeld live, the children come home from school in body bags. The awful past keeps on happening. Not all who are walking in darkness recognise the light. We need an understanding of hope that is based on God with us in the reality of darkness.

Darkness comes in many forms. When we pray in hope like this, we choose to look for the strands of goodness. The ultimate reason is that we are wanted and wished for and waited for. At advent, we want, we wish, and we wait. Instead, we tap into the true source of hope. A much needed reminder to remain open, aware and ready to the Light in both the darkeness and light of our lives. Thank you.


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Thank you for naming distress and confusion related to difficulties in family relationships as a place of waiting for you. Family stuckness can feel so dark that it is hard to remain hopeful.

God is wonderful to give us permission to be in that place of confusion and still know He loves us and is preparing to come to us!! In this community, devestated and destroyed by floods from Hurrican Irene, it is a perfect pericope to present —and thank you for the meditation, too. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. We use cookies and non-personalized tracking information to help improve this site.

It’s Here! Deceiving Darkness Is Live!

However you can change those settings at any time. Find out more. However you can change those settings at any time Beyond Words. Advent 1: The Darkness of Waiting. Ruth Haley Barton November 24, 13 Comments. For the darkness of waiting of not knowing what is to come of staying ready and quiet and attentive, we praise you, O God: For the darkness and the light are both alike to you. For the darkness of staying silent for the terror of having nothing to say and for the greater terror of needing to say nothing, we praise you, O God: For the darkness and the light are both alike to you.

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For the darkness of loving in which it is safe to surrender to let go of our self-protection and to stop holding back our desire, we praise you, O God: For the darkness and the light are both alike to you. For the darkness of choosing when you give us the moment to speak, and act, and change, and we cannot know what we have set in motion, but we still have to take the risk, we praise you, O God: For the darkness and the light are both alike to you.

Debbie Sanders on November 29, at pm.

The most beloved devotional of all time.

Carrie O on November 27, at pm. Dan on November 27, at pm.

Hey everyone, Wondered if you have considered setting up a reading plan in a online Bible like YouVersion for all of the readings through Advent?