Tuesday, July 26, 2005

No one else

Psalm 22
Journal entry dated March 15, 2005

"Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else will help me."

This psalm is a cry of anguish and abandonment. In the line "no one else will help me," we hear an echo of the words of the paralytic, άνθρωπον ούκ έχω, "I have no one." In desperation the psalmist is pleading, on behalf of all the forsaken of the world, that God will not abandon him as well.

"No one else will help me" is a statement precariously balanced between hope and despair. While other translations simply read "no one," "no one else" is a kind of breathless anticipation, the first part of a question that ends, "will you?" It is a prayer of not-yet-complete abandonment, of not-quite hopelessness.

"Someone else will help you;" this is, more often than not, our response to those who have been abandoned like the psalmist. Someone else will do it. It is someone else's job, someone else's responsibility. We create this experience of isolation every time we say "someone else." And we begin the creation of a new world, a better world, when we stop saying "someone else," and start saying "I".

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