Thought for the Day: Memory — and Loss


“Memory is the sense of loss, and loss pulls us after it. God Himself was pulled after us into the vortex we made when we fell, or so the story goes. And while He was on earth He mended families. He gave Lazarus back to his mother, and to the centurion he gave his daughter again. He even restored the severed ear of the soldier who came to arrest Him—a fact that allows us to hope the resurrection will reflect a considerable attention to detail. Yet this was no more than tinkering. Being man He felt the pull of death, and being God He must have wondered more than we do what it would be like. He is known to have walked upon water, but He was not born to drown.

Sea of Galilee - Israel

                            Sea of Galilee – Israel

And when He did die it was sad—such a young man, so full of promise, and His mother wept and His friends could not believe the loss, and the story spread everywhere and the mourning would not be comforted, until He was so sharply lacked and so powerfully remembered that his friends felt Him beside them as they walked along the road, and saw someone cooking fish on the shore and knew it to be Him, and sat down to supper with Him, all wounded as He was. There is so little to remember of anyone—an anecdote, a conversation at table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stoke our hair with dreaming, habitual fondness, not having meant to keep us waiting long”  –

From Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, p. 194-195.


                                  At the Church of Heptapegon — The Seven Springs, Israel






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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

One response to “Thought for the Day: Memory — and Loss”

  1. Rosita says :

    Hi. I don’t think that death’s an end, because, as I said in another post, I believe in reincarnation. I think it’s pretty comforting, because we’re happy to know that we can meet those who we love, in a next life. And I also believe in karma and that dogs can guide good persons to the pearly gates of Heaven (it’s Yudhisthira’s story, an ancient Balinese legend). I’m catholic, but I such have some Hindu traits, so, I’ll never mistreat any animal, specially a dog. I would like to move to any Caribbean country and found a paradise for homeless dogs and cats, an animal shelter with a beautiful seaside view ☺️ I learned about compassion with a dog, when my beloved Blackie died, wrapped on my white sarong, due to veterinary negligence. My dogs are the family who I chosen. I also admire cats by their independence and I think that they’re mysterious. The most important values I don’t learned with people, but yes with animals, because they’re too disinterested and pure of heart. I believe that God created us to be intelligent and use our intelligence ONLY for good things and be pure of heart, like our animals comrades. Animals and humans are life partners. I also would like to become an infectious disease doctor and travel around the world. But I would avoid countries in war or extreme misery, because these things make me very sad 😦 I hate violence and I think that we should give a chance to peace. I would like to live in any Caribbean country, with sun, paradisiacal beaches and a good quality of life 🙂 #paradise PS: I never visited Panama, but I heard that’s pretty idyllic and the capital, Panama’s City, is well-developed. You may also like to visit San Blas, a paradisiacal archipelago in Panama coast, where live an indigenous tribe called Guna Yala 😉

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