Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"In Remembrance" Discussion

Day Three of discussion about the 2014 Mormon Lit Blitz

Today's Piece: "In Remembrance" by Merrijane Rice

Intellectually, it seems reasonable to me to suppose that most people feel their failures like a bayonet wound at times. And yet there are moments when that stab of regret is so overpowering that I'm pretty sure it must be abnormal, that I must have some undiagnosed ailment to be feeling such pain.

Our religion, like most, acknowledges the diverse presence of pain in the world and invites us to move toward healing and meaning. And we often do--though our memories do typically remain, sometimes accompanied by startling flare-ups of old wounds.

Why does God allow that?

Is it somehow good for us, or is it something we'd be better off finding a way around?

What did you think of the poem as a way of speaking to your experience?


  1. This poem hits a great truth. Sometimes, I think in the church, we focus so much on the fact that "men are that they might have joy" that we can feel guilty when those times come when we need to grieve - miscarriage, death, disability, etc. - especially if this grieving takes longer than people think is necessary.

  2. The concept and imagery of this poem are compelling, and I found myself mulling over some of the word choices and how they contributed to the message. As it is "rejection" that does the wounding, I wondered what that rejection looks like in the author's life as well as my own. Since it sneaked up behind and stabbed in the back a person doing their best to move forward along the straight (though treacherous) path, I thought about betrayals that lead to rejection of one sort of another. I liked the discussion at the end of the piece about how the atonement covers both our sins and the wounds we bear from the actions of others through no fault of our own. Also the commentary on how we are expected to forgive, but that doesn't mean we forget either the event or the pain. And perhaps learning what to do with that memory is like the imagery at the beginning of the poem: walking the line between fortifying our defenses and remaining vulnerable and open to forgiveness and love.

  3. Is it bad form to comment on your own entry?

  4. Merrijane, I think it okay to comment on your own entry especially if you have something to add to the topic.

    I really enjoyed your poem. I've also often wondered why pain doesn't fade, no matter what the source.

    Perhaps, God lets us feel pain so we can succor others. It is our pain that makes us human and empathic.

    I have felt this desolate sense of confusion and dissonance at several events in my life. My most recent answer for god allowing me to experience difficulties was that he was preparing me for something more difficult. It was a kindness to me to be strengthened through struggle so that I could face what God knew would soon come.

  5. I usually don't like to step on anyone's experience or interpretation once I write a poem and let it go ... but I'll just say one thing. I had some reservations about using the word "rejection" because (1) it very personally identifies what was bothering me when I wrote this and (2) I didn't want to limit how to interpret "pain" in the poem. But I settled on it because it's really at the core of my struggle. When I experience loss, especially when I'm trying to live obediently, I immediately begin asking why God is "doing this to me." I know intellectually it's a stupid question, but my heart hurts anyway. I feel like my best efforts have been rejected. And that is the kind of pain that recurs in my mind years after the actual consequences of the event have long been forgotten or rectified. What do you think?

  6. Verse sermons are hard to write. If they're too poetic, they can be obscure. If they're too straightforward, they can be doggerel. It's not a form I like, frankly, but Merrijane does some good stuff with it here. I especially liked the bit about scars, reminders of our blunders and vulnerabilities.

    I don't know that God wants us to forget. If we forget, we won't remember. If we don't remember, we won't have learned. If we don't learn, we won't progress out of the bad or into the good. I don't think the Atonement is about forgetting. It's about taking up your bed and walking, not leaving your bed for the city to get rid of.

  7. At first, I read this as being a poem about the writing and publishing process. You take such care at the beginning to learn how to write, you follow the path. But even after all your work, rejection gets you. But only by working until it hurts, only by going into your own place of atonement, can you actually start writing.

  8. .

    This truth of redemption caused me great fear and pain as an adolescent.

  9. I often feel that I have complete confidence in God and not very much in myself. He can forgive and forget and I have a much harder time--especially forgiving myself. I also agree with the comments that speak of pain (whether self- or other-inflicted) supplying us with empathy for others. It is a refining force.



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