Words as hiding places

Here’s a bonus mid-week Lectio Divina from Week 2.

From p. 75: “I was going to say I’ve thought sometimes before like the feeling maybe had to do with Hope.”

  1. What is literally happening?

Kate Gompert is answering questions as part of an evaluation in the mental hospital she’s been admitted to after her most recent suicide attempt. The “Hope” being referred to is Bob Hope, a street name for marijuana. She’s explaining to the doctor doing the evaluation that her depression worsens when she’s not regularly using the drug.

2.  What is happening allegorically?

There’s a sort of misdirection happening with the use of the word Hope. Until Kate explains herself, we and the doctor think she’s referring to the more common usage of the word. Correlating depression and hope is obviously unusual and brings up a lot of questions in our minds. How can hope be painful?

3. What does this remind me of from my own life?

The phrasing of Kate’s sentence is sort of evasive. She fills the sentence with superfluous words like sometimes, before and maybe. It’s as if she’s trying to draw out the amount of time it takes to get to the important part of her sentence: the revelation of her drug problem. Even when she gets there, she uses a code word for the drug that adds even more time before she has to admit to her problem.  This obfuscation is something I do all the time when talking about things that make me feel vulnerable.

4. What action does this sentence call me to do?

This sentence compels me to be more direct when I talk about things, particularly things I might find embarrassing or delicate. Hiding behind unnecessary words only makes me sound less certain of what I’m saying. I challenge myself to be upfront about things that are difficult to talk about.

 

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