Many years ago while reading the book, Silas Marner by George Eliot, I remember the way one of the characters, Molly dies in a snow storm. She trudges through the falling snow and finding it increasingly difficult to walk, stumbles, falls, then takes the last bit of opium she carries and to which she is addicted and places it in her mouth.
With that she lies in the snow and dies.
I read this book, first as a teenager, and often wondered how the snow suddenly became a seductive, inviting bed for her: Initially she was fighting the blizzard, but the fight became difficult as the snow grew higher and she finally laid down and died.
Dying looked so inviting.
Very often in the earlier part of my life, I travelled in the local trains of the city, second class. Sometimes I jumped last into the bogie and found myself hanging out of the door. I do remember on more than one occasion, the ache in my arms grew so unbearable, all I wanted was to let go the bar.
The thought of letting go felt so sweet! I could actually feel my arms begging me to do so.
How like self-pity this is!
We go through situations, trying and difficult. We fight the challenges, we stand up to the storm, but as days go by and the battle doesn’t abate we grow weary, both mentally and physically. Suddenly all we want to do is to lie down and cry.
All Molly in Silas Marner wanted to do was to lie in the snow and die. She did.
All I wanted to do in the train was to let go and fall.
How sweet the feeling of giving up. It is over! We feel sad, dejected, we dig into our pockets, into our minds and swallow the opium of self-pity, sink deeper and deeper into despair and into the doldrums of the cunning inviting snow.
Self-pity is a refuge that is sometimes most appealing, “Oh you poor man,” she whispers to the man who stands up to some tyranny in his office or housing colony, “Let me embrace you!”
It’s a fatal embrace, one that strangles us to death.
Is it worth giving ourselves up to this momentary relief?
“Hold tighter!” I used to urge myself as my tired arms begged me to let go, and I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d given up, maybe maimed, maybe dead?
Hold on, plod on; ignore the inviting snow, the opium in your pocket, the self pity in your mind, and steadfastly push on till you reach your goal.
Nobody has regretted fighting the snow storm and living to tell the tale..!
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