Dostoevsky on Almost Dying

Dostoevsky 2

I picked this up from the wonderfully and absurdly titled site: BOOKS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Hopefully, we won’t have to almost get shot to wake up, smell the coffee, and begin to live lives of real purpose for the glory of God.

Dostoevsky on Almost Dying

In 1849 Fyodor Dostoevsky was arrested, along with the rest of the informal, progressive/revolutionary Petrashevsky Circle, which opposed the serf system and Tsarist rule. The members were to be executed – shot by a firing squad in threes. Dostoevsky was in the second grouping, and as he watched the guns point at the first three, waiting for his turn, a stay of execution was given (they would be sent to hard labor in Siberia).

Upon returning to his cell, he wrote a letter to his brother. It read, in part:

When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul – then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, every minute can be an eternity of happiness!

I am neither downhearted nor discouraged. Life is everywhere, life is in ourselves, not in the exterior. I shall have human beings around me, and to be a man among men and to remain one always, not to lose heart and not to give in no matter what occurs – that is what life is, that is its task, I have become aware of this. This idea has entered into my life and blood.

If we are going to live real lives of purpose and direction and passion and substance we are going to have to come to grips with thoughts like these as it relates to our spiritual formation, our discipleship in “all that He commanded.”

To not do so, to not even begin to entertain such thoughts is damning circumstantial evidence that we ARE NOT followers of Christ but merely fans of an ambiguous virtue and a mythical Christ, but not real disciples of the historic God-man who died and rose again with a promise to return for those who are His.


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