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In Need of a Ritual

I went through "The Life of Pi" in two days. There was much there I could relate to, mostly religious. Toward the end of the book, Pi makes the observation that because he is a deeply religious person, ritual is of supreme importance to him and that the lack of a closing ritual at the end of his adventure is one of his life's biggest regrets.

It got me to thinking about how true that has been for my own life. I've had precisely two relationships that didn't end, but just petered out. The consequence was that they have inappropriately resurfaced in ways that were really disruptive. As though if you didn't have a funeral for somebody, they could just show up at dinner one day years after they had died. I have had a perfectly good ritual for ending marriages (and how sad that I've done that often enough to have a ritual for it). Every time I end a marriage, it involves a road trip. On every road trip, at some desolate point between here and there, I roll down the window and pitch my wedding ring. Husband #1 - somewhere east of Indio. Husband #2 - north of Kettleman City. Husband #3 - near some railroad tracks in Carpinteria. And I roll up the window and step on the gas, leaving it behind me.

Ritual is important, but so is life. Putting suffering away once it's past, not borrowing misery from the future, those are important. Having goals is good, having memories is good, but so is joy in the place you're at now.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
I loved that book.
Apr. 7th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC)
See, I wasn't particularly interested in reading that book, but now I am.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )