Dmitri Karamazov: Singing from depths underground

Fyodor Dostoevsky /

I still haven’t finished The Brothers Karamazov, but I now only have 200 more pages to go, and this story is sometimes so frustrating, so tragic, and other times so beautiful.

I don’t want to spoil it, if you haven’t read it. So I’ll only say that here are the words of Dmitri—words I never expected him to say, but words I’m so glad he is saying, for they’re words of truth.

Even there, in the mines, underground, you can find a human heart in the convict and murderer standing next to you, and you can be close to him, because there, too, it’s possible to live, and love, and suffer . . .

It’s impossible for a convict to be without God, even more impossible than for a non-convict! And then from the depths of the earth, we, the men underground, will start singing a tragic hymn to God, in whom there is joy! Hail to God and his you! I love him!”

~from The Brothers Karamazov (Book 11, Chapter 4) by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Though these are Dmitri’s words, I notice the echo of Fyodor Dostoevsky himself, reflecting on his own experience underground in prison. His words speak to all of us, even those not in prison. With the human heart, made in the image of God, we can live and love and suffer. No matter what hardships we face, no matter how far down underground we go, we can still sing a tragic hymn to God because in him is joy.


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