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Life of Pi (part 1 chapter 74)

2006-08-22 21:28

  CHAPTER   74

  I practised religious rituals that I adapted to the circumstances-solitary Masses without priests or consecrated Communion hosts, darshans without murtis, and pujas with turtle meat for prasad, acts of devotion to Allah not knowing where Mecca was and getting my Arabic wrong. They brought me comfort, that is certain. But it was hard, oh, it was hard. Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love-but sometimes it was so hard to love. Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up.

  At such moments I tried to elevate myself. I would touch the turban I had made with the remnants of my shirt and I would say aloud, “THIS IS GOD'S HAT!”

  I would pat my pants and say aloud, “THIS IS GOD'S ATTIRE!” I would point to Richard Parker and say aloud, “THIS IS GOD'S CAT!”

  I would point to the lifeboat and say aloud, “THIS IS GOD'S ARK!”

  I would spread my hands wide and say aloud, “THESE ARE GOD'S WIDE ACRES!”

  I would point at the sky and say aloud, “THIS IS GOD'S EAR!”

  And in this way I would remind myself of creation and of my place in it.

  But God's hat was always unravelling. God's pants were falling apart. God's cat was a constant danger. God's ark was a jail. God's wide acres were slowly killing me. God's ear didn't seem to be listening.

  Despair was a heavy blackness that let no light in or out. It was a hell beyond expression. I thank God it always passed. A school of fish appeared around the net or a knot cried out to be reknotted. Or I thought of my family, of how they were spared this terrible agony. The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving.

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