Sunday, March 23, 2014


Always. Always I have loved classic novels involving a woman having a major identity crisis, walking out on her marriage, and, more often than not, killing herself in the end. Although, I suppose it could be argued that she wasn't having an identity crisis at all. Perhaps she was finally peeling off the layered mask and presenting herself as she'd always been. I devoured every word written by Tolstoy about Anna Karenina--an almost miraculous feat considering my general lack of enthusiasm for the Russian authors. I couldn't get enough of Madame Bovary by Flaubert. I considered Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie to be a real gem. None of them, however, meant as much to me as Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

I can't explain my affection or my attraction to these characters. I've always been a strong believer in a biblical worldview, the sanctity of marriage, and, well, not killing myself. It's not as though, as an impressionable, young college student, I found the actions of these characters to be a defining factor in my belief system. Rather, nearly everything I stood for stood in opposition to their behavior.

Still, to this very day, isolated moments from The Awakening occupy corners of my mind. They send chills up my spine. There is no explaining it because I hate Edna Pontellier. I always have. Even at a childless nineteen, I couldn't understand her reckless behavior. It furrowed my brow and made me angry--the way she just abandoned her children. Leaving her husband, my brain could wrap around that, even when my own worldview couldn't. But to abandon her children, to just keep swimming away until there was no hope of ever making it back, this makes me hate her.

But I love her, too.

I love her for acknowledging her own skin, dreams, feelings. Bold. Unpredictable. I suppose I envy her transparency. I do not share her values nor do I aspire to. But I do long to be real, open, and passionate. Seen. 

"She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world." -Kate Chopin The Awakening

I don't want to be fictitious. I no longer want to be bound by expectations unless they are placed upon me by the One who knows me without garments. I want to serve that very One with total abandonment and freedom. There will come a day when I will stand before Him in glory and more than anything I know--in the deepest recesses of my very being--that I want His words to be, "Well done MY good and faithful servant." 

I've always been open. But I've never been very good at transparency. I'm only just learning the chasm between the two. Perhaps that is what I've envied in these characters for so long. They find out who they are. And then they don't apologize.

No comments:

Post a Comment