Thursday, August 13, 2009


But the whole scene, which had turned so ugly, was stopped in a most unexpected manner. The elder suddenly rose from his place. Alyosha, who had almost completely lost his head from fear for him and for all of them, had just time enough to support his arm. The elder stepped towards Dmitri Fyodorovich and, having come close to him, knelt before him. Alyosha thought for a moment that he had fallen from weakness, but it was something else. Kneeling in front of Dmitri Fyodorovich, the elder bowed down at his feet with a full, distinct, conscious bow, and even touched the floor with his forehead. Alyosha was so amazed that he failed to support him as he got to his feet. A weak smile barely glimmered on his lips.
"Forgive me! Forgive me, all of you!" he said, bowing on all sides to his guests.

I shared this anecdote from Karamazov with a friend of mine the other day. He felt touched by the story of Zosima, who in the face of utter brokenness, humbled himself beyond reason, and shocked everyone. Zosima's heart broke for the ruin that was both present and laid in waiting for his guests. There are many times when I wish I could imitate his humility.

I seriously cannot explain how profound of an experience reading Dostoevsky has been this summer. So much of what he writes hits me on some deep level, and I feel like I either need to apply it, or it's already happening to me. This has only happened on a surface level with Fitzgerald's writings, and on a life changing level with the gospels. Fyodor falls closer to the latter.


Andrew said...

nothing makes one warm and fuzzy in the cockles of their hearts like patricide :D

Steve said...

Elder Zosima left me with tears more than once. I hope I also am able to put into practice something of his character...
And Dave, let me know when you will be in Montreal so we can discuss Dostoevsky further... :)