Accept and Endure

Day 333 of A Year of War and Peace

he last time Natasha fell in love it didn’t end well for her or for her beloved. Her passion for Prince Andrei, the beloved, was matched — surpassed even — only by her impatience to consummate said passion. So when Prince Andrei’s father wickedly conditioned their marriage upon a one-year separation period Natasha’s untutored heart, as if to test the Proustian notion that there can be no peace of mind in love, since what one has obtained is never anything but a new starting-point for further desires, sought a substitute on which to attach her affections. Unfortunately, that substitute turned out to be Anatole Kuragin. Natasha’s brief affair with that wild man set off a chain of events wherein her heart got more shook than the San Andreas Fault and the Napoleonic Wars took Anatole’s legs and Prince Andrei’s life. So, not really the best love story.

Thankfully, Natasha has grown very much since that unfortunate series of events. She, like her newly beloved Pierre, has learned at the seat of suffering. Her suffering has taught her, just as it has Pierre, to not pine for those things she has no control over. It counsels, instead, patience. So whereas she rebelled against the fact of Prince Andrei’s absence before she now, with Pierre leaving for Petersburg, recalls her lessons in patience and pauses mindfully to reflect that this is something she must accept and endure.

It’s a wonderful note on which to end our book and begin our epilogue.

DAILY MEDITATION

So come what may, I’ll not upset/ My cheerful happiness of mind./ Dejection never brings me what I want;/ My virtue will be wrapped and marred by it./ If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,/ What reason is there for dejection?/ And if there is no help for it,/ What use is there in being glum?

Shantideva, Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra

This is the three hundred and thirty third installment in a daily, yearlong, chapter-by-chapter reading devotional and meditation on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. For more information on this project please read the introduction to the series here.

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