Encounter: Robert Farrar Capon

“Let me pause for a moment and speak a word to those starting over after some kind of death.

The world, oddly enough, does not take kindly to resurrections. The risen dead are tolerated only as long as they are careful not to look too obviously raised. The trouble with Lazarus had to have been that he refused to be discreet about being alive. Had he gone to just one or two small dinner parties and done a respectable revived-corpse act, [the authorities] might have put up with him. But no. Instead, he dined regularly six nights a week, ate like Diamond Jim Brady, drank Calvados til two in the morning, and laughed all night at his own dialect jokes.

You will be asked, sometimes politely but always firmly, not to look too alive: Lazarus at a dinner confuses the troops. And yet, what is there to do? Act as if you were still in the grave? Carry a little flacon of eau de tombeau in your purse? Of course not. You have been given a new life: flaunt it. Sadness and guilt are facts; but forgiveness must always be the largest fact. Embarrassment at the riches of your own existence is a loser.

Life itself is resurrection, or else it isn’t life. There is no way of being raised that doesn’t involve acting risen.”

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