Joined to post.
I. Look, guys. The presence or lack of an 'artistic message' is not even close to a relevant discussion. The obvious reason is that the only possible artistic message given by drawings of generic stick figures and crudely drawn settings is that of the exact broad application and ambiguity many of you are (or seem to be) complaining about. While I don't have much personal experience drawing comics of any sort, I would personally be a bit frustrated if I spilled the emotional, real, human thoughts in my head to the general public and watched them proceed to try and find an artistic message in it.
Randall is only being honest with us. If he wanted to lie or cover up what was going on in his head, he could have drawn something completely different. If you can't tell what's going on... maybe he can't either. And given the general emotional air of this particular comic, I wouldn't really be surprised if that was exactly the case.
If you want meaning from this comic, it is exactly as patimen said.
The comic is crystal clear to anyone who has been through this, though entirely different for all of them....
II. What great timing. I've been pondering this exact line of thought for the past week and a half or so now. I have a very close friend who's almost a month into an insanely rough patch in her life. She started pondering the state of her relationship with God, and what she's found has bothered her so much that she barely comes out of her dorm room anymore. Even when she does manage to come down and study or whatever else in a group - for that matter, even when manages to laugh... *sigh*. I can see in her eyes how much trying to set all of this right is just killing her. It hurts just watching. And I *desperately* want to help her somehow, however I can - but I know that's not possible. Not really. What would I tell her that would help, you know?
I got a new Bible about a week ago, so I started reading the book of Job to try and wrap my head around this. For those of you who aren't familiar with it (I would imagine most of you), the basic idea is that God and Job are great buddies. Job's this righteous, outstanding guy, and God has blessed his life in return. So when God starts bragging to Satan about Job and what a righteous person he is, Satan essentially bets God that he can make Job curse God if he (Job) goes through hard enough times. So God lets Satan have at it, and pretty much in an instant, Job's entire property and riches have been stolen, his children get killed, his wife leaves him (if I remember that right), and he gets blistering sores all over his body.
I'll spare you guys the rest of the spiritual stuff (but I would highly recommend taking some time out and reading it yourself
, along with a decent commentary
), but the majority of the first half of the book involves the time that Job's three closest friends spend with him right after he's had all this happen to him. They sit down with him for seven days (as in they do not return to their homes and come back in the morning - we're talking 168 consecutive hours) and over that entire time, they do not say word one to him. They just sit there with him, sharing in his silence. But as soon as they try to comfort him with words - saying things essentially mirroring "look, things are going to get better - they have to eventually, right?" and various derivatives of that - Job either starts going on about how badly he wants to die as if they said nothing or he starts yelling at them for trying to say such meaningless things. The two really scathing bits I've come across so far are "What miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?" and "If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom."
So at some point along the way, it occurred to me that, once people pass a certain internal threshold of grief, there really isn't anything that you can say to them that can help them at all - and it usually just ends up making them angrier. Not necessarily at *you*, per se, but just in general. Maybe they're angry that even the most heartfelt comfort that people can offer can't help them come to terms with anything. I'm not really sure what the source of that kind of anger is myself - and it's certainly something I've been through.
Anyway, I need to get to bed. (I can hear the direct quotations now - "Late? It's only 3AM!"). So, Randall, if you ever read this yourself - I am praying for both of you, whatever it is you're both going through.
And as much as I feel that the act of quoting individual Bible verses is kitschy, shallow, and runs a high risk of misinterpretation from a lack of context, I feel that in this case, the following is rather simple and appropriate.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
- Diosjenin -