Canoes and Waterfalls

In her essay “Writers and the Nostalgic Fallacy,” Marilynne Robinson offers this analogy: “among people carried along in a canoe toward a waterfall, the one who stands up and screams is not the one with the keenest sense of the situation. We are in a place so difficult that perhaps alarm is an indulgence, and a harder thing — composure — is required of us.”

Although, Robinson is not talking about addiction, her observation works for me. The chronic composure required in loving my child with addiction is wearing me down. Periodically, I need time to retreat with sources of consolation. Robinson’s novel Gilead, my all-time favourite, tells the story of a father’s most loving heart and is consolation itself.