Quotes Challenge Day 3: Ride the Horse

Photo by my son, Vaughan M.

Behind one pain, there is another. Sorrow is a wave without end. But the horse mustn’t ride you, you must ride it. 

The final quote for the three-day challenge comes from one of my favorite books, Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle (published as The Bridge of Beyond in English). I feel I must provide a little context–without giving away too much of the plot, of course.

In Part 2 of the novel, Télumée, the primary character, is so profoundly grieved by her husband’s desertion that she sits on a stone in her grandmother’s backyard for several weeks, speechless and unmovable, reduced to a shade of her former self. Her trauma is understandable. After being obviously head-over-heels in love with her since they were children, Elie, her husband, suddenly and inexplicably becomes cruel and abusive and kicks her out of the house in favor of another woman. The events of her life become incongruous with the reality she’s crafted and the people she and her husband are and Télumée is so broken by this unfathomable turn of events that she “loses her mind” and can no longer function.

Télumée eventually “rises,” nurtured by her community and the steady wisdom of Toussine, her grandmother –“Queen without a Name”–who had suffered and survived many griefs herself.  I’m convinced it is the words Toussine instills at an earlier point in the novel that compel her to get up:

Behind one pain, there is another. Sorrow is a wave without end. But the horse mustn’t ride you, you must ride it.

As suddenly as she falls apart, Télumée stands up to live a life different from the one she originally imagined–one that is authentic and communal and necessary.

I have always loved this quote. When I first read it, I put the book down to pause and consider it for a while. And still, several reads later, I am blown away by the tenacity Toussine suggests we must conjure up to survive wild waves of pain and sorrow–the grit it takes to position ourselves so that deep sorrow doesn’t shape our lives, define us, or guide us and the creative prowess it takes to use that sorrow to re-plot the direction of our lives.

Sometimes when the crises come one right after another and literally knock us off our feet, it seems easier to just lie down and wallow in sadness and misery. There can be healing in (temporarily) shutting down, in resting, but at some point we (have to) decide whether we will ride the horse–our circumstances–or let the horse ride us.

There is way more to say about this quote and way, way, way more to say about The Bridge of Beyond. I hope you’ll pick it up and read it. I also hope that when life becomes too much, you’ll choose to ride.

Today’s nominees are [see a previous post for rules]:

Have a restful, fun, and safe weekend!


Note about the photo: The photo above was shot by my son when he was eight-years-old. He is quite the photographer. I’m working on getting him to share more of his work. #proudmom


18 thoughts on “Quotes Challenge Day 3: Ride the Horse

  1. louise237 says:

    I read “Pluie et Vent sur Télumée Miracle” many years ago… I still have some of her words on my mind… In Life, we all are struck by sorrow and difficult moments, but… what else can we do, apart carrying on the our path… What a super photo, congrats to your son. He should join LYA next year, I would love to swap with him. Take care dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catwoods says:

    A meaningful quote, Chandra Lynn! Thank you so much for nominating me, I feel very honored! I have to say I can’t do this right now, I am struggling to keep up with everything and medical stuff is making it harder. I’m trying to do a post of spring pictures and I am very late doing that. For a possible future time I will start thinking about which quotes I might use, though. I look forward to checking out all the websites you’ve nominated, and to reading all your posts. All best wishes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. K E Garland says:

    This is a powerful quote, and I’d like to suggest something in between. I think many of us are taught to repress our feelings, which is another way of actually proceeding with life; however, of course, it’s not a healthy way, so I wish there was something that shows (succinctly) how to deal with and manage the pain, WHILE “riding the horse.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      I think that was her point–In my attempts to not “spoil” the novel, I may have failed at making that clear. Healing is a large part of Queen without a Name’s strategy–not just pushing through (or riding through) without dealing with the very real circumstances and issues of heart. I invite you to read the book. Based on what I’ve read on your blog, you’d love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheila Marie Delgado says:

    The photo is awesome. I have gone back to look several times. It has a painterly effect, and the light is wonderful. A soft quiet moment, as if I am having a conversation with the horse. Beautiful 🙂 And I agree with Louise, I would love to swap with Vaughan 😉
    Sounds like a terrific book, the quote is wonderful and this post is very meaningful for me. Thanks for sharing your lovely spirit, and your unique outlook with us Chandra – such a joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Awww…you’re so sweet, Sheila. I will definitely let my little one know what you said. He has a good eye and good composition. I’ll be sharing more of his photos soon (hopefully) along with some of his peers’. If you have time, read the book!


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