Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Desperation, Meaning, and the Iliad

I am currently reading the Iliad.  I have never read through the whole thing before, I must admit, so it is about time.  And I also have to admit that I am enjoying it. My smarter and better read friend, Cindy R., wrote this of the Iliad:

"...I love it because of its desperation- Achilles' desperation, that pre-gospel longing for significance and meaning. I suppose I love it because I have found a better country and it reminds me from whence I have come..."

I still find myself at times wondering what I will be when I grow up, wondering what my life will add up to, what of any importance I have accomplished in these few years on this little planet. I forget that I am, indeed, in a better country. What a blessed thing not to have to understand everything, but to rest in the knowledge that meaning will be had in the end.

They say the grass is always greener elsewhere, but I think sometimes the grass being brown and scorched elsewhere is a good reminder to enjoy your own piece of desert. Leave desperation for meaning behind and rest in the One who both is and makes meaning.

And while all of that is true, I have to admit that I often find myself laughing at all the wrong parts of this book. It is SUCH a "boy" book, after all.  The eyeballs falling out of heads and mingling with the dust at the victim's feet, the details about entrails and noble deaths, all remind me of the days when small warriors roamed my house and were inspired to live bold lives. And those remembrances kill off any remainder of desperation.

I am reading the Iliad with a wonderful online book group called Conversatio at the Harvey Center.  If you feel inclined to come along on a journey through the classics, fill out the information form here and ask for information about Conversatio, or take a peek at what we're up to here.

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