I have recently finished How Dante Can Save Your Life written by Rod Dreher. All I can say about this book is that my commonplace book is being heavily used during this reading. Mr. Dreher has come upon some hard truths while reading Dante’s The Divine Comedy, truths that he is able to apply to his life and his family. This book is a continuation of sorts from his earlier book, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. The earlier book tells of the death of Dreher’s sister and how it causes him to move his family back to his hometown. In his current book, we find that the move did not go well and his extended family is not accepting him as well as he had anticipated. The turning away of his family causes him physical and emotional stress. In reading Dante, though, he finds quite a few similarities between the 14th century pilgrim and himself, similarities that help him to heal.
I am halfway through the book but I have found quite a few gems. This one, though, stands above all of the others:
“The shade of an ancient poet appears and promises deliver you from your misery but says that the road ahead is going to be arduous, even horrible. A reasonable man would have said to the ghost, “Wait a minute, you died ages ago. I must be having a hallucination. How do I know you are who you say you are? I have to think about this.” But the pilgrim did not say that.
Nor did he say, “Thanks but I’ll wait here; things might get better.: He didn’t say, “How can I trust that you know the way out? Maybe you are wrong. Maybe you will lead me to ruin.” And Dante didn’t say, “Show me the whole picture, the entire map ahead, and I will follow you.”
He said none of these things. He simply said, “I trust you and I will follow you.” That was a leap of faith. (pg. 61)
That particular quote struck deep. It reminded me of our reading journey with Tessa. There have been many, many times in the last 7 years when I have wondered if the road we are traveling on was the right one. I have second guessed myself oodles of times throughout our travels. But I can see now that the road of trusting was the road that we were on and that it was the right one.