calling forth

181/366 - dance of shadow and light, in the living room.

In a powerful scene in Dostoevsky's The Idiot, the prince - a sort of Christ-like figure - confronts the beautiful Nastasya about her cruel behavior towards a family she is visiting:

" 'And aren't you ashamed of yourself?' cried the prince suddenly with deep, heartfelt reproach.  'You're not the woman you pretend to be.  Why, it isn't possible!'

Nastasya Filippovna looked surprised.  She smiled, but seemed to be concealing something behind her smile.  She was a little embarrassed and glancing at Ganya, went out of the room.  But before she reached the entrance hall, she suddenly returned, went up to Mrs Ivolgin, took her hand, and raised it to her lips.

'He was right, I'm not really like that,' she whispered rapidly and fervidly, flushing all over, and, turning round again, walked out so quickly this time that no one had time to realize what she had come back for." 

I was thinking about this today, wondering what we might call forth in each other if we had the tenacity to be grace-bearers, urging forth the imago dei in people.   I'd like the boldness to demand of others the goodness that God shaped them with; the courage to name sin and discard it.  I find myself wondering how a proper word in season might draw out the hope again, like a time before the pressing and the breaking, when the soul was brand new, just fresh from God's hand.  But Dostoevsky's character is called "the Idiot" for a reason; it is hard for the world to imagine such a thing.  Naive, fool, idiot, we must be, to not know about the way the world works, to go around talking about grace and forgiveness and hope when what is need is more realism, more boundaries, more effort.   I know, I know.