“What the Hell?”

Via Joana Smith
on Apr 14, 2012
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Lately, I have been haunted by a dream that I had over 10 years ago. I was 25 and living in New Jersey.  It went like this:

When I was thirteen, my father and I were swimming in the ocean in Mexico, and we got caught in a riptide. It pulled us further and further away from the beach. Swimming toward the shore gained us nothing, every time we tried we would be pulled out again. We could have drowned that day, but someone on the coast heard us calling for help.

After the ordeal was over my dad bought me a bracelet from one of the vendors on the beach. It’s broken now, but I still wear it.

I have a hard time throwing things away. It’s always seemed to me that no matter how damaged something is, there is still always a chance for usefulness in some way.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Joana Smith

Who I'd like to meet: Superman's Children, eco-warriors, truck drivers, persephone, roller derby queens, nurses, scientists, givers, priests, yogi, storytellers, people who don't know right now, playwrights, philosophers, people who are more visual, people who hop trains, performers, poets, seamstresses, activists, Spider-Man, kids, rangers, Snow White, dj's, massage therapists, people who work with their hands, bunnies, sportsracers, people who work in offices, dancers, baristas, artists, cleaners, climbers, Jeff's sister, Colbert, Skiers, Bikers, skaters, surfers, ani, people who are recovering, trees (and flowers), people who will die soon, gardeners, horses, Jolie-Pitt, soon-to-be mothers, margie's daughter, astronomers, people who are scared, girls who wear black and listen to the Smiths, cuffmakers, lambs, Miranda July, the man in the moon, Bono, people from 'round here, Obama...


4 Responses to ““What the Hell?””

  1. Justin says:

    Rip-tide advice: They just pull you out, not down. And you can never beat it head-on. Swim parallel to the shore until you get out of its reach, then you can swim to shore without it pulling you back out.

    It’s always seemed to me that no matter how damaged something is, there is still always a chance for usefulness in some way.

    And that's hell isn't it? Things that have gone beyond their purpose and have no more use? The empty shell of what remains after meaning has departed from something?

    "Perdition" is to have lost all power, all purpose, all meaning — all usefulness. To lose usefulness is akin to losing existence — it is to be "nothing" or a "thing of naught".

    though I speak with the tongues of men
    and of angels
    and have not charity
    I am become useless noise
    and though I have the gift of prophecy
    and understand all mysteries
    and all knowledge
    and though I have all faith
    so that I could remove mountains
    and have not charity
    I am nothing
    and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor
    and though I give my body to be burned
    and have not charity
    it profiteth me nothing

    There is only one type of charity: God’s charity — the overwhelming desire and willingness to share all that we have with everyone else. If we don’t have this, then we don’t have charity.

    Sharing. We learn this as children in the family. You share your toys, our mothers teach us.

    As adults, we learn to share with our spouses and children. Parents provide their children with the necessities: food, clothing, shelter, nurture, protection, education. And we do this freely, as gifts. The family is designed to be a charitable-gift society, so that we can engender charity.

    It's that agape which is the only lesson we need to learn here on earth — the only thing that gives us real usefulness and enduring meaning and value — the only thing that can knit broken, worthless hearts into a community or charitable-gift society, patterned after the one that exists in heaven — a Zion on earth.

  2. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  3. Justin says:

    I just noticed the flower-patterned fabric near the bottom of this post appears to match the fabric used to make my wife's nametag…