In the beginning you weep. The starting point for many things is grief, at the place where endings seem so absolute. One would think it should be otherwise but the pain … Is antecedent to every new opening in our lives.
Belden Lane in The Solace of Fierce Landscapes
David Runcorn uses this quote to introduce the “unexpected starting place” of leadership in 1 and 2 Samuel in Fear and Trust. There patriarchy, represented by Hannah’s husband Elkanah and Eli, the priest at Shiloh. Patriarchal leadership had produced a very barren spiritual landscape. The unexpected starting place is a childless woman who Eli thought was a drunk.
The Two-Headed Calf
Tomorrow when the farm boy find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.
But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass. And
as he stares into the skies, there are
twice as many stars as usual.
Laura Gilpin in The Hocus-Pocus of the Universe
Belden Lane refers to this poem in a chapter called Grace and the Grotesque in his book The Solace of Fierce Landscapes. He writes: “The paradox of the grotesque is that it summons those who are whole to be broken and longs for those who are broken to be made whole.”