Rich Paxson

In the Discussion Forum of this unit, share ways in which you have noticed the content, questions or insights from the previous session showing up in your lives.
Just halfway through this journey of our life
I reawoke to find myself inside
a dark wood, way off-course, the right road lost
(‘The Divine Comedy’, by Dante Alighieri. Translated by Tom Phillips, 1983)

What awakened Dante? Was it some metaphorical rumble-strip on the road of his life?

In Iowa, it seems like every single rural intersection has a rumble-strip. These series of three washboard-pavements preceding a stop sign can be as unsettling as they are unavoidable. The acronym for rumble-strip, coined by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in 1988, is SNAP or Sonic Nap Alert Pattern. My dog Acie intensely disliked SNAPs. Sometimes when I’m the only car on the road, I pull into the lane opposite to avoid the triune drum roll as I slow down for a crossroad.

While Forgiving Victim is no snap course intellectually, it is full of SNAPs inviting me to pause, to reawaken inside my “dark wood” overgrown with occlusions of the self. On my own I lose the “right road.” Forgiving Victim’s SNAPs me back. It keeps me alert to God’s gift of faith waiting to guide me away from dependence on the social other and toward the openness and freedom found in response to the urgings of the Other other!