Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In requiem...

Today's is a commemorative post which I've been planning for a while. As you may have guessed from some recent posts, I have very lately been introduced to the works of Virginia Woolf and, subsequently, I have gained a deep respect for her. Not only is her writing style impecable and her thoughts profound, my heart has broken over her life story. I find several similarities between her own tragic childhood and my sometimes traumatic one. I found myself often moved because, in her, I see some of the things I have been spared, some of the incredible ways God has intervened in my life.
And God knows the ways in which He attempted to intervene in hers, but sadly (for her and for the rest of us) she chose a different path. After several bouts with insanity, and fearful of Nazi invasion, Woolf chose to take her own life.
On March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf left the Sussex home she shared with her husband Leonard. She filled her coat pockets with rocks and walked into the River Ouse, drowning herself. She left this heart-breaking note for her husband:
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
Before studying Woolf's life, I think I only judged the fact that she committed suicide. But after reading her own reflections and autobiographical essays (some written just months before her death), I feel such a deep sadness. I only wish she could have known the hope of Christ's love and, through that, the true purpose of her amazing gift. In reflecting on her life or other artists I admire, I often think, "Who was sharing the love of Jesus with that person? Or did the church just reject them?" And then the Lord challenge me, "Who are you sharing My love with? How would you act differently if you knew this classmate or that co-worker was to become a world-renowned artist or businessperson?" Ouch. Convicting reminder.
So today, while I mourn the premature loss of this literary great, I also find myself provoked to love deeper and freer than ever before.



  1. Wow. Powerful thoughts. Thank God for His mercy in our lives and towards our failures.
    Love you!

  2. Profoundly written. Thank you for these insights. May we all learn to love unconditionally, as Christ has loved us. Truly.

  3. That's some great insight, Samara.