Monday, April 23, 2007

Pandora'a Box

As I sit on the precipice of my final IUI-induced 2ww, I’m left to think—again—about our friend hope, and whether I have any at all for this cycle. I feel like between all of us, we’ve said all there is to say about hope. And yet, as I do during every 2ww, I feel like there is more to say. More to think about. More to explore.

But, I couldn’t think of anything original to say…or think about…or explore. And so, as I do when I’m looking for a quick answer, I looked to our ever familiar friend, Dr. Google. And I learned something really interesting from the doctor. As it turns out, the myth of Pandora’s Box is at its core a story of hope, which I found really ironic and oddly comforting. Here’s how the story goes:

The gods created a woman—Pandora—to compliment man, Epimetheus. They made her to be soft where he was hard; her to be strong where he was weak; her to be wise where he was foolish. She was meant to be the opposite of man; a companion and a complement.

But, as she was given the gifts of love, of beauty, of intelligence, so was she given the complements of each of those gifts. As such, the god Athena gave intelligence along with an overwhelming curiosity.

Zeus asked Athena why she gave that pair—intelligence and curiosity. She replied, “Though they seem to not be the opposite, they truly are. For as much as curiosity can lead to knowledge, curiosity eventually leads to the loss of that same knowledge. While knowledge is good and strong, it can be weakened by the need to know too much.”

When Epimetheus found the god’s gift to him, Pandora, he was pleased. She did complement him in extraordinary ways. She was able to master quickly that with which he had long struggled, and together they were stronger than either of them would have been individually.

But, Zeus ultimately grew bored of being constantly praised by Epimetheus for giving the gift of Pandora. So, Zeus called on Hades: “Listen, I want you to go to the dark places you know so well and gather what you find. I want the sprites of disease, hunger, hopelessness, cruelty, and the rest. Bind them into a strong box and bring it to me.”

Later, Pandora and Epimetheus saw a man walking up the road with a heavy box. They offered him a drink and he sat down with them to rest. After a while, he realized he would need to continue his journey, and he asked if he could leave his box in their care. They accepted. But, before the man left, he warned the two not to open the box or there would be dire consequences.

After he left, Pandora was mesmerized by the box. She would admire it everyday and wonder what was inside. One day, she heard voices coming from within. They were crying to let them out. So, she opened the box and the evil spirits of every vice in the world came rushing out and began to hurt her. She tried to close the box, but the spirits were rushing out too quickly and causing too much pain. When she was finally able to close the box, only one spirit remained inside.

After the spirits hurt her, they left to inflict their worst on Epimetheus. And she wept as she heard him in pain.

Then, she heard one last voice from inside the box asking Pandora to release it. “Why should I—didn’t you see what the others just did,” she asked?

“Of course I did, they are my sisters. But I can assure you I am not like them.”

So, feeling that all was lost, she opened the box and a beautiful sprite, hope, emerged and gleamed in the sunlight. And, as the sprite touched her pain, it was gone. The sprite then moved over to Epimetheus to relieve his pain as well.

Then, exhausted, the sprite drifted back, and “Pandora watched as she drifted painlessly into her flesh and took up residence in her heart. She knew she had been given the gift that, even though it could not erase the pain she had brought to the world, could make that pain easier.

She smiled a soft smile knowing there is hope, and hope is sometimes enough.”


Carrie said...

That's a great story.
“Though they seem to not be the opposite, they truly are. For as much as curiosity can lead to knowledge, curiosity eventually leads to the loss of that same knowledge. While knowledge is good and strong, it can be weakened by the need to know too much.”
This is so, so true, epecially in these days of Dr Google. How many times have I answered a quest for a fact with another dozen things that confuse me even more?!
Hope that this 2ww is not just about Hope but will end with success.

Erin said...

I agree with Carrie, that section, especially, rings so true for the whole lot of us. Thanks for sharing it!

Good luck this 2ww!

serenity said...

I love that story too.

And Carrie's comment... wow. Something to think on.

The way I look at hope is that it's the yin to the yang. You HAVE to counterbalance the pain and suffering somehow to remain a whole person.

Again, I am hoping that this 2ww ends with wonderful news.

Kristen said...

Thank you so much for sharing! It is a great, original tale about our friend Hope.

Everytime I go to seek out an answer, I wind up with more questions. I can sincerely relate to this fable.

I hope this "final" 2ww is the last one you'll ever need to have! XOXO

Adrienne said...

Thanks for that story, Sticky Bun. Every version I've read of it has Hope staying locked in the box - as if that's the lesson. I'm so glad it's not. We all need Hope.

Bumble said...

That was a lovely post Sticky Bun! Thanks!

Mands said...

What a lovely post. We all have our own Pandora's box of IF, but it is comforting that there is the voice of hope at the end.

Dianne/Flutter said...

Wow - what an amazing story. Thank you for that gift.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing!