Certainly Amy shares her culture's view that Sethe, as a black woman, is inferior to her in intelligence. But the kindness in Amy overrules all else and instead of doing what the law requires—turn her in—she lifts up Sethe's swollen feet and begins to tenderly massage them. Sethe begins to cry.
“It’s gonna hurt, now,” said Amy. “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”
“A truth for all times,” the story’s narrator observes.
Our lives have pain in them. Sometimes we bring this on ourselves, but not always. When we are hurting, it might be helpful to hear Amy's words echo in our ears—“Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”
Indeed we are in a process of continuous resurrection. As human beings, as families, as communities, and as a culture, we are in the midst of a cycle of renewal and rebirth.
When we are hurting, it is understandable and appropriate to have all the emotions that come with that—anger, sadness and even resentment. When Amy rubbed Sethe’s feet, Sethe cried. But she still heard Amy's words and received her comforting touch. And soon, a newborn baby was sleeping in her arms.
What are the areas of your life in which you experience pain?
What in your life is “coming back to life?”
How will you frame your experience of suffering? As a punishment? As confirmation that life is unfair and sometimes cruel? As part of a life-bearing process?