I just finished a book by Anna-Leena Härkönen. About her sister’s suicide. And two days ago another book by Jorge Semprun about his days in Buchenwald. Yeah, I know, not necessarily the most light-hearted Christmas reading, but who wants light-hearted anyway.
They may write about death and depression, but there is something terribly encouraging especially in Semprun’s books. You can sense in him an immense desire and love for life. He speaks of curiosity: curiosity for life, interest in what tomorrow has to offer. Losing that capability means losing your soul, turns you into a living dead who has already in essence left this world. Härkönen expressed something very similar when she was wondering why her sister had decided to kill herself. She lost this capability of being curious about the world.
Semprun’s book makes me ask myself, if we, the children of the privileged welfare-societies, have a responsibility towards those who have suffered and still are suffering, to enjoy our life? Be amazed at its gifts, curious of its offerings? Härkönen makes me question, if it is possible to just decide to do it? We do not suffer the horrors of concentration camps or famines and war, but more invisible pains and wounds have broken spirits and scarred souls. If too much desire for life has leaped out of those wounds, is it possible to replenish the soul by simply wishing it? Are we who we think we are: do we feel what we think, what we desire?
Feelings are fickle, aren’t they? Semprun makes me hopeful and eager, Härkönen anxious enough to drive me to both writing and to the services of my personal musical therapist. Is that the lesson of today: no matter how much life occasionally sucks, writing and Rammstein alone are enough to make life feel good? Well, it may not seem like much, but I actually think that is a lesson worth learning and remembering.