Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday, October 3, 2005

If I fail you, then rescue me. If I flee unto Tarshish, storm against my ship. Shall I sleep until you reveal my occupation? Or am I already cast forth into the sea? If so, where is the great fish you have prepared to swallow me up?

Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

But I am not Jonah, since the sea ceases not from her raging.

Is it right to wish evil to evil? Is it right to be angry when evil does not suffer? Should the LORD not spare Nineveh? But Nineveh has not proclaimed a fast, put on sackcloth, sat in ashes, turned every one from his evil way, and from violence. Will you yet repent of the evil you would do unto Nineveh? If Nineveh repents, shall I be like Jonah, displeased exceedingly and very angry:

I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

or shall I rejoice, and have compassion, and not be angry even unto death, and not faint, and not wish in myself to die, and not say, It is better for me to die than to live?

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
—Romans 12:19–21

Why should I heap coals of fire on anyone’s head? I am not Jonah. Your word has not come to me, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it. Nineveh is my neighbor, Nineveh is me.


Every individual—we too—exists not for his own sake, but for the sake of all the past and all the future. In face of this great, grave whole, the claims of peoples, times and individuals to happiness and well-being, lasting or fleeting, are of very subordinate importance, for since the life of humanity is one whole, it is only to our frail powers of perception that its fluctuations in time or place are a rise and fall, fortune and misfortune.

Imperceptibly we have passed from the question of good and evil fortune to that of the survival of the human spirit, which in the end presents itself to us as the life of one human being.

What I do man does.


I had not before heard of Henry Darger.


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