I’m rereading THE GIVER by Lois Lowry for close to the tenth time. First time being thirty years ago and then, about, every five years since.

Part of my love for this book has been picking up something different every time I’ve read it. This read is no exception.

I’ll try not to riddle this post with spoilers, but they may slip out.

The community Jonas lives in is not a metaphoric beige, but a literal one. Their world is not colored, their experiences aren’t vibrant. They just, literally, do what they’re told with no variation. No expectation of pleasure. No expectation of sadness. Just. This.

I’ve gotten to a part in the book that has me re-evaluating not wanting to feel anymore. It was encapsulated when discussing the absence of senses with my mother. She’s also read the book so she’s familiar with its timeline. Talk, talk, talk, and she wrapped by saying the beef stew she had cooking smelled good while smiling.

This isn’t a criticism of my mother. She makes a mean beef stew. But it occurred to me that without pain there’s no bar to compare the pleasure of a beef stew to.

Without losses in my life I wouldn’t know to celebrate the good. Without losing Brian I wouldn’t know to celebrate survivors in my world. Without losing Anne, Doug, and Mrs. Hughes I don’t know to celebrate surviving cancer and science. Without losing my grandparents I don’t know to get stories from my elders. Without working this, that, or the other job I don’t recognize how good my current job is for and to me.

This is going to be big for me. When feeling negative recognize situations where the opposite feelings are present.

It’s not going to be easy, but maybe it’ll make every day marginally less onerous. And that will make it possible for more joy to flourish.


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