Hearing Loss Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Hearing Loss. Here they are! All 200 of them:

When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.
Eric Berne
Hearing him talk about his mother, about his intact family, makes my chest hurt for a second, like someone pierced it with a needle.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Everyone keeps telling me that time heals all wounds, but no one can tell me what I’m supposed to do right now. Right now I can’t sleep. It’s right now that I can’t eat. Right now I still hear his voice and sense his presence even though I know he’s not here. Right now all I seem to do is cry. I know all about time and wounds healing, but even if I had all the time in the world, I still don’t know what to do with all this hurt right now.
Nina Guilbeau (Too Many Sisters)
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling (If: A Father's Advice to His Son)
Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the truth, maybe I didn't want things to turn abstract, but I felt I should say it, because this was the moment to say it, because it suddenly dawned on me that this was why I had come, to tell him 'You are the only person I'd like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if I should hear that you died, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night's sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
I do not mourn the loss of my sister because she will always be with me, in my heart," she says. "I am, however, rather annoyed that my Tara has left me to suffer you lot alone. I do not see as well without her. I do not hear as well without her. I do not feel as well without her. I would be better off without a hand or a leg than without my sister. Then at least she would be here to mock my appearance and claim to be the pretty one for a change. We have all lost our Tara, but I have lost a part of myself as well.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
Tonight, I feel like my whole body is made out of memories. I'm a mix-tape, a cassette that's been rewound so many times you can hear the fingerprints smudged on the tape.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
We human beings don't realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colours and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.
Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban)
Maybe it doesn’t matter whether something is a coincidence or a sign. Maybe the best way to cope with the loss of the people we love is to find them in as many places and things as we possibly can. And in the off chance that the people we lose are still somehow able to hear us, maybe we should never stop talking to them.
Colleen Hoover (Reminders of Him)
We see a hearse; we think sorrow. We see a grave; we think despair. We hear of a death; we think of a loss. Not so in heaven. When heaven sees a breathless body, it sees the vacated cocoon & the liberated butterfly.
Max Lucado (Max on Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions)
it is a heartBreaking sound, Amir Jan, the Wailing of a mother. I pray to Allah you Never hear it.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days, you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglass-I’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme…. There was a time when it wasn’t uncommon to use a piece of string to guide words that otherwise might falter on the way to their destinations. Shy people carried a little bunch of string in their pockets, but people considered loudmouths had no less need for it, since those used to being overheard by everyone were often at a loss for how to make themselves heard by someone. The physical distance between two people using a string was often small; sometimes the smaller the distance, the greater the need for the string. The practice of attaching cups to the ends of string came much later. Some say it is related to the irrepressible urge to press shells to our ears, to hear the still-surviving echo of the world’s first expression. Others say it was started by a man who held the end of a string that was unraveled across the ocean by a girl who left for America. When the world grew bigger, and there wasn’t enough string to keep the things people wanted to say from disappearing into the vastness, the telephone was invented. Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever its form, is conduct a person’s silence.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
I heard of a man who says words so beautifully that if he only speaks their name women give themselves to him. If I am dumb beside your body while silence blossoms like tumors on our lips it is because I hear a man climb stairs and clear his throat outside our door.
Leonard Cohen
More and more I find myself at a loss for words and didn't want to hear other people talking either. Their conversations seemed false and empty. I preferred to look at the sea, which said nothing and never made you feel alone.
Paula McLain (The Paris Wife)
At first, it feels as if she has vanished forever, and all traces are destroyed. But later, when the pain of loss doesn't overwhelm all your other feelings, every time you think of her, or hear her voice in your head, or remember a happy time together, you realize she's still a part of you and will never be totally gone.
Maria V. Snyder (Storm Glass (Glass, #1))
It is not death that the very old tell me they fear. It is what happens short of death—losing their hearing, their memory, their best friends, their way of life. As Felix put it to me, “Old age is a continuous series of losses.” Philip Roth put it more bitterly in his novel Everyman: “Old age is not a battle. Old age is a massacre.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
William Wordsworth (The Major Works)
Normal" isn't an adjective you wish to hear after putting that much effort into making sure it was spectacular.
Portia de Rossi (Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain)
You don't become an 'artist' unless you've got something missing somewhere. Blaise Pascal called it a God-shaped hole. Everyone's got one but some are blacker and wider than others. It's a feeling of being abandoned,cut adrift in space and time-sometimes following the loss of a loved one. You can never completely fill that hole-you can try with songs,family,faith and by living a full life...but when things are silent, you can still hear the hissing of what's missing.
Bono
Americans love to hear good things about their bad habits.
T. Colin Campbell (The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health)
When We Two Parted When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow— It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame: I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame. They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me— Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well: Long, long shall I rue thee, Too deeply to tell. In secret we met— In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee? With silence and tears.
Lord Byron (Poetical Works)
The truth, indeed, is out—but the ears to hear it and the minds to learn from it seem to have been atrophied by a cultivated ignorance and a nearly total loss of critical insight.
Murray Bookchin (To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936)
LXXIX When I die, I want your hands on my eyes. I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands to pass their freshness over me once moreL I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny. I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep. I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you to sniff the sea's aroma that we loved together, to continue to walk on the sand we walk on. I want what I love to continue to live, and you whom I love and sang above everything else. to continue to flourish, full-flowered. So that you can reach everything my love directs you to. So that my shadow can travel along in your hair, so that everything can learn the reason for my song.
Pablo Neruda
I'd breathe for her. I'd see for her, hear for her, and feel for her. I'd even die for her. Thousands of times. If I could see her smile at me one more time, it would all be worth it. Just one more time. Before I completely fell apart.
Tiana Dalichov (Purification (Keeper of Light, #3))
Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day the blueprint of your life would begin to glow on earth, illuminating all the faces and voices that would arrive to invite your soul to growth. Praised be your father and mother, who loved you before you were, and trusted to call you here with no idea who you would be. Blessed be those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be, blessed be those who have crossed your life with dark gifts of hurt and loss that have helped to school your mind in the art of disappointment. When desolation surrounded you, blessed be those who looked for you and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window in the gray wall formed around you. Blessed be the gifts you never notice, your health, eyes to behold the world, thoughts to countenance the unknown, memory to harvest vanished days, your heart to feel the world’s waves, your breath to breathe the nourishment of distance made intimate by earth. On this echoing-day of your birth, may you open the gift of solitude in order to receive your soul; enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart; know the serenity of stillness to be enfolded anew by the miracle of your being.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)
There is no good talking to him," said a Dragon-fly, who was sitting on the top of a large brown bulrush; "no good at all, for he has gone away." "Well, that is his loss, not mine," answered the Rocket. "I am not going to stop talking to him merely because he pays no attention. I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying." "Then you should definitely lecture on Philosophy," said the Dragon-fly.
Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince)
I knew I would have to relearn how to listen to music, and that some of the music we'd loved together I'd never be able to hear again.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
There is a pain you can’t think your way out of. You can’t talk it away. If there was someone to talk to. You can walk. One foot the other foot. Breathe in breathe out. Drink from the stream. Piss. Eat the venison strips. And. You can’t metabolize the loss. It is in the cells of your face, your chest, behind the eyes, in the twists of the gut. Muscles, sinew, bone. It is all of you. When you walk you propel it forward. When you let the sled and sit on a fallen log and. You imagine him curling in the one patch of sun maybe lying over your feet. Then it sits with you, the Pain puts its arm over your shoulders. It is your closest friend. Steadfast. And at night you can’t bear to hear your own breath unaccompanied by another and underneath the big stillness like a score is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away. Then. The Pain is lying beside your side, close. Does not bother you with sound even of breathing.
Peter Heller (The Dog Stars)
She does not want to feel even the faintest temptation to call his mobile number, as she had done obsessively for the first year after his death so she could hear his voice on the answering service. Most days now his loss is a part of her, an awkward weight she carries around, invisible to everyone else, subtly altering the way she moves through the day. But today, the Anniversary of the day he died, is a day when all bets are off.
Jojo Moyes (The Girl You Left Behind)
My heart broke when he died, split in half and fell down into my stomach or somewhere deep and muddy, and I'm still not sure where it is now. I hear it beating sometimes in my ears, or feel its fast pulse in my neck, like I do now; but in my chest, where it should be, it mostly just feels empty.
Jen Violi (Putting Makeup on Dead People)
Not everyone deserves to hear your grief. Not everyone is capable of hearing it. Just because someone is thoughtful enough to ask doesn't mean you are obliged to answer.
Megan Devine (It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand)
You can't metabolize the loss. It is in the cells of your face, your chest, behind the eyes, in the twists of your gut. Muscle, sinew, bone. It is all of you. When you walk you propel it forward....Then it sits with you. The pain puts its arm over your shoulders. It is your closest friend, steadfast. And at night you can't bear to hear your own breath, unaccompanied by another. And underneath the big stillness like a score, is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away. Then, the pain is lying beside your side, close. Does not bother you with the sound even of breathing.
Peter Heller (The Dog Stars)
They say that people who live next to waterfalls don't hear the water. It was terrible at first. We couldn't stand to be in the house for more than a few hours at a time. The first two weeks were filled with nights of intermittent sleep and quarreling for the sake of being heard over the water. We fought so much just to remind ourselves that we were in love, and not in hate. But the next weeks were a little better. It was possible to sleep a few good hours each night and eat in only mild discomfort. [We] still cursed the water, but less frequently, and with less fury. Her attacks on me also quieted. It's your fault, she would say. You wanted to live here. Life continued, as life continues, and time passed, as time passes, and after a little more than two months: Do you hear that? I asked her one of the rare mornings we sat at the table together. Hear it? I put down my coffee and rose from my chair. You hear that thing? What thing? she asked. Exactly! I said, running outside to pump my fist at the waterfall. Exactly! We danced, throwing handfuls of water in the air, hearing nothing at all. We alternated hugs of forgiveness and shouts of human triumph at the water. Who wins the day? Who wins the day, waterfall? We do! We do! And this is what living next to a waterfall is like. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night's sleep and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
Shhh.” He put a finger to her lips. “Hear me out. I cannot deny that I would've liked to have made babies with you. A little girl with your hair and eyes would've been the delight of my life. But it is you that I want primarily, not mythical children. I can survive the loss of something I've never had. I cannot survive losing you. (Winter Makepeace)
Elizabeth Hoyt (Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4))
Although Thanksgiving comes but once a year, every day should be a day of Thanks. Among all the challenges that we face as people with hearing loss there are certainly brighter moments in every day – moments that deserve to be recorded in our Gratitude Journal.
Monique Hammond
Being unafraid of making mistakes makes everything easy for me. Not worrying about what people think frees you to do things, and doing things allows you to win or learn from your loss—which means you win either way. Hear me now: you are better off being wrong ten times and being right three than you are if you try only three times and always get it right.
Gary Vaynerchuk (Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too)
I knew this for a fact. Little by little, the ache to see him, to hear him would disappear. Little by little I’d forget how his arms felt, how his fingers felt, how his lips felt..the sound of his voice, the intensity of his gaze, all of it. Trace by trace it would slip from my mind, recede into foggy memory. The painful haze that dulled my present would melt into the past. Maybe not all the way, maybe there would be a few scars. Maybe I'd be different, but I’d be me again. Little by little.
Jennifer DeLucy
As a therapist, I know a lot about pain, about the ways in which pain is tied to loss. But I also know something less commonly understood: that change and loss travel together. We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same. To help John, I’m going to have to figure out what his loss would be, but first, I’m going to have to understand mine. Because right now, all I can think about is what my boyfriend did last night. The idiot! I look back at John and think: I hear you, brother.
Lori Gottlieb (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed)
May you hear my feeble voice! It will tell you that here below there is a heart full of the memory of you.
Herculine Barbin (Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite)
I thought, there is nowhere else in the universe I would rather be at this moment... There is nowhere else I could imagine wanting to be besides here in this car, with this girl, on this road, listening to this song. If she breaks my heart, no matter what hell she puts me through, I can say it was worth it, just because of right now. Out the window is a blur and all I can really hear is this girl's hair flapping in the wind, and maybe if we drive fast enough the universe will lose track of us and forget to stick us somewhere else.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
I miss you in the maddening noise of crowd, I hear your laughter at my folly with sweet indifference, I miss you like a frozen tear finding its course, I miss you in your presence inside me, I miss you in every breath I take.
Debatrayee Banerjee (A Whispering Leaf. . .)
He could hear Donald saying something else but it didn't matter anymore what, because then and there it occurred to him that maybe the emptiness he'd been living with all this time hadn't really been emptiness at all, but loneliness gone unrecognized. How can a mind know how alone it is until it brushes up against some other mind? A single mark had been made, another person's memory imposed onto his mind, and now the magnitude of his own loss was impossible for Samson to ignore. It was breathtaking. He sank to his knees...It was as if a match had been struck, throwing light on just how dark it was.
Nicole Krauss (Man Walks into a Room)
...I had nothing to do but survive the feeling that some pain is for no reason at all. It became clearer than ever that life is not a series of choices. So often the experiences that define us are the ones that we didn't pick. Cancer. Betrayal. Miscarriage. Job loss. Mental illness. A novel coronavirus.
Kate Bowler (No Cure for Being Human: And Other Truths I Need to Hear)
This is how the soul heals. it thaws out bit by bit, the way the ground warms after a hard winter. you notive the sun or hear the whippoorwill calling across the flats. You sweep your porch, go drink coffee in the shade of the trumpet vines. You have days where you want to lay down and die, but what you learn is this: As long as there's somebody left on this earth who loves you, it's reason enough to stay alive. You don't give in to your broke heart-- you just let the wide, cracked space fill up again.
Michael Lee West (American Pie)
Dogs possess a quality that's rare among humans--the ability to make you feel valued just by being you--and it was something of a miracle to me to be on the receiving end of all that acceptance. The dog didn't care what I looked like, or what I did for a living, or what a train wreck of a life I'd led before I got her, or what we did from day to day. She just wanted to be with me, and that awareness gave me a singular sensation of delight. I kept her in a crate at night until she was housebroken, and in the mornings I'd let her up onto the bed with me. She'd writhe with joy at that. She'd wag her tail and squirm all over me, lick my neck and face and eyes and ears, get her paws all tangled in my braid, and I'd just lie there, and I'd feel those oceans of loss from my past ebbing back, ebbing away, and I'd hear myself laugh out loud.
Caroline Knapp (Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs)
The dirty secret she’d learned about grief was that nobody wanted to hear about your loss a week after the funeral. People you’d once considered friends would turn their heads in church or cross to another side of a shopping mall to avoid the contamination of your suffering. “You might imagine I’m coping day by day,” she murmured. “But it’s more a case of hour by hour, and during my worst times, minute by minute.
Susan Dormady Eisenberg (The Voice I Just Heard)
Okay then. That's what I'll do. I'll tell you a story. Can you hear them? All these people who lived in terror of you and your judgment. All these people whose ancestors devoted themselves, sacrificed themselves to you. Can you hear them singing? Oh you like to think you're a god. But you're not a god. You're just a parasite. Eaten with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them. On the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow, so... so come on then. Take mine. Take my memories. But I hope you're got a big a big appetite. Because I've lived a long life. And I've seen a few things. I walked away from the last great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time, no space. Just me! I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman! And I watched universes freeze and creation burn! I have seen things you wouldn't believe! I have lost things you will never understand! And I know things, secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken! Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze! So come on then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!
Neil Cross
Come in! come in !’ he sobbed. ‘Cathy, do come. Oh do -once more! Oh! my heart’s darling! hear me this time - Catherine, at last!
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
In the past the whales had been able to sing to each other across whole oceans, even from one ocean to another because sound travels such huge distances underwater. But now, again because of the way in which sound travels, there is no part of the ocean that is not constantly jangling with the hubbub of ships’ motors, through which it is now virtually impossible for the whales to hear each other’s songs or messages. So fucking what, is pretty much the way that people tend to view this problem, and understandably so, thought Dirk. After all, who wants to hear a bunch of fat fish, oh all right, mammals, burping at each other? But for a moment Dirk had a sense of infinite loss and sadness that somewhere amongst the frenzy of information noise that daily rattled the lives of men he thought he might have heard a few notes that denoted the movements of gods.
Douglas Adams (The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2))
I don't want to be the person who gasps in fear whenever she hears the sound of a doorbell or a phone. I just want to lose myself in these hills, in the river winding west to the city of bridges.
Mira Bartok (The Memory Palace)
One more, final question came from the audience on my last night in Newtown, and it was the one I most did not want to hear: “Will God protect my child?” I stayed silent for what seemed like minutes. More than anything I wanted to answer with authority, “Yes! Of course God will protect you. Let me read you some promises from the Bible.” I knew, though, that behind me on the same platform twenty-six candles were flickering in memory of victims, proof that we have no immunity from the effects of a broken planet. My mind raced back to Japan, where I heard from parents who had lost their children to a tsunami in a middle school, and forward to that very morning when I heard from parents who had lost theirs to a shooter in an elementary school. At last I said, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t promise that.” None of us is exempt. We all die, some old, some tragically young. God provides support and solidarity, yes, but not protection—at least not the kind of protection we desperately long for. On this cursed planet, even God suffered the loss of a Son.
Philip Yancey (The Question That Never Goes Away)
When the web started, I used to get really grumpy with people because they put my poems up. They put my stories up. They put my stuff up on the web. I had this belief, which was completely erroneous, that if people put your stuff up on the web and you didn’t tell them to take it down, you would lose your copyright, which actually, is simply not true. And I also got very grumpy because I felt like they were pirating my stuff, that it was bad. And then I started to notice that two things seemed much more significant. One of which was… places where I was being pirated, particularly Russia where people were translating my stuff into Russian and spreading around into the world, I was selling more and more books. People were discovering me through being pirated. Then they were going out and buying the real books, and when a new book would come out in Russia, it would sell more and more copies. I thought this was fascinating, and I tried a few experiments. Some of them are quite hard, you know, persuading my publisher for example to take one of my books and put it out for free. We took “American Gods,” a book that was still selling and selling very well, and for a month they put it up completely free on their website. You could read it and you could download it. What happened was sales of my books, through independent bookstores, because that’s all we were measuring it through, went up the following month three hundred percent. I started to realize that actually, you’re not losing books. You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there. When I give a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people say, “Well, what about the sales that I’m losing through having stuff copied, through having stuff floating out there?” I started asking audiences to just raise their hands for one question. Which is, I’d say, “Okay, do you have a favorite author?” They’d say, “Yes.” and I’d say, “Good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favorite author by being lent a book, put up your hands.” And then, “Anybody who discovered your favorite author by walking into a bookstore and buying a book raise your hands.” And it’s probably about five, ten percent of the people who actually discovered an author who’s their favorite author, who is the person who they buy everything of. They buy the hardbacks and they treasure the fact that they got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it, and that’s how they found their favorite author. And I thought, “You know, that’s really all this is. It’s people lending books. And you can’t look on that as a loss of sale. It’s not a lost sale, nobody who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free.” What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people, you’re raising awareness. Understanding that gave me a whole new idea of the shape of copyright and of what the web was doing. Because the biggest thing the web is doing is allowing people to hear things. Allowing people to read things. Allowing people to see things that they would never have otherwise seen. And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.
Neil Gaiman
Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
How many happy, satisfied people there are, after all, I said to myself. What an overwhelming force! Just consider this life--the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, all around intolerable poverty, cramped dwellings, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying...and yet peace and order apparently prevail in all those homes and in the streets. Of the fifty thousand inhabitants of a town, not one will be found to cry out, to proclaim his indignation aloud. We see those who go to the market to buy food, who eat in the daytime and sleep at night, who prattle away, marry, grow old, carry their dead to the cemeteries. But we neither hear nor see those who suffer, and the terrible things in life are played out behind the scenes. All is calm and quiet, and statistics, which are dumb, protest: so many have gone mad, so many barrels of drink have been consumed, so many children died of malnutrition...and apparently this is as it should be. Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis. There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people, and that happy as he himself may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, catastrophe will overtake him--sickness, poverty, loss--and nobody will see it, just as he now neither sees nor hears the misfortunes of others. But there is no man with a hammer, the happy man goes on living and the petty vicissitudes of life touch him lightly, like the wind in an aspen-tree, and all is well.
Anton Chekhov
We need to talk about the hierarchy of grief. You hear it all the time—no grief is worse than any other. I don’t think that’s one bit true. There is a hierarchy of grief. Divorce is not the same as the death of a partner. Death of a grandparent is not the same as the death of a child. Losing your job is not the same as losing a limb. Here’s the thing: every loss is valid. And every loss is not the same. You can’t flatten the landscape of grief and say that everything is equal. It isn’t. It’s easier to see when we take it out of the intensely personal: stubbing your toe hurts. It totally hurts. For a moment, the pain can be all-consuming. You might even hobble for a while. Having your foot ripped off by a passing freight train hurts, too. Differently. The pain lasts longer. The injury needs recovery time, which may be uncertain or complicated. It affects and impacts your life moving forward. You can’t go back to the life you had before you became a one-footed person. No one would say these two injuries are exactly the same.
Megan Devine (It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand)
The advance of our technology is coincidental with the loss of our appetite for ethical questions that ought to attend the implications of these new powers. . . In the name of diversity, any idea is regarded as worthy as any other; any nonsense is entitled to a forum, a full hearing, and equal time.
Thomas Lynch (The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade)
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Sometimes I hear the world discussed as the realm of men. This is not my experience. I have watched men fall to the ground like leaves. They were swept up as memories, and burned. History owns them. These men were petrified in both senses of the word: paralyzed and turned to stone. Their refusal to express feeling killed them. Anachronistic men. Those poor, poor boys.
Antonella Gambotto-Burke (The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide)
I thought, There is nowhere else in the universe I would rather be at this moment. I could count all the places I would not rather be. I’ve always wanted to see New Zealand, but I’d rather be here. The majestic ruins of Machu Picchu? I’d rather be here. A hillside in Cuenca, Spain, sipping coffee and watching leaves fall? Not even close. There is nowhere else I could imagine wanting to be besides here in this car, with this girl, on this road, listening to this song. If she breaks my heart, no matter what hell she puts me through, I can say it was worth it, just because of right now. Out the window is a blur and all I can really hear is this girl’s hair flapping in the wind, and maybe if we drive fast enough the universe will lose track of us and forget to stick us somewhere else.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
I lay in my bed a few minutes later, resigned as the pain finally made its appearance. It was a crippling thing, this sensation that a huge hole had been pushed through my chest, excising my most vital organs and leaving ragged, unhealed gashes around the edges that continued to throb and bleed despite the passage of time. Rationally, I knew my lungs must still be intact, yet I gasped for air and my head spun like my efforts yielded me nothing. My heart must have been beating, too, but I couldn't hear the sound of my pulse in my ears; my hands felt blue with cold. I curled inward, hugging my ribs to hold myself together. I scrambled for my numbness, my denial, but it evaded me. And yet, I found I could survive. I was alert, I felt the pain--the aching loss that radiated out from my chest, sending wracking waves of hurt through my limbs and head--but it was managable. I could live through it. It didn't feel like the pain had weakened over time, rather that I'd grown strong enough to bear it.
Stephenie Meyer (New Moon (The Twilight Saga, #2))
Maybe it doesn’t matter whether something is a coincidence or a sign. Maybe the best way to cope with the loss of the people we love is to find them in as many places and things as we possibly can. And in the off chance that the people we lose are still somehow able to hear us, maybe we should never stop talking to them.
Colleen Hoover (Reminders of Him)
But the woman, the mother, she watches, she waits, she loves. And she bears the weight of that love. She bears the loss of her son to war. She bears the story of Manifest. When everyone else is crushed by it, by the loss, the pain. When no one else can bear to remember. She is the keeper of the story. Until someone who needs to hear it comes along. When it will be time to make it known. To manifest. That's what a diviner does.
Clare Vanderpool (Moon Over Manifest)
You see the suffering of children all the time nowadays. Wars and famines are played out before us in our living rooms, and almost every week there are pictures of children who have been through unimaginable loss and horror. Mostly they look very calm. You see them looking into the camera, directly at the lens, and knowing what they have been through you expect to see terror or grief in their eyes, yet so often there’s no visible emotion at all. They look so blank it would be easy to imagine that they weren’t feeling much. And though I do not for a moment equate what I went through with the suffering of those children, I do remember feeling as they look. I remember Matt talking to me--- others as well, but mostly Matt--- and I remember the enormous effort required even to hear what he said. I was so swamped by unmanageable emotions that I couldn’t feel a thing. It was like being at the bottom of the sea.
Mary Lawson (Crow Lake)
I took one long last look at her before disappearing into the Rainbow Forest where another Master was calling me Home. “I love you Jack I love you Jack I love you Jack…” she kept saying, until I was far from her sight. To this day she still whispers, “I love you Jack,” even when she thinks I can't hear her anymore...but I can. Sometimes what seems to be the ending of something is just the beginning of everything.
Kate McGahan (Jack McAfghan: Return from Rainbow Bridge: An Afterlife Story of Loss, Love and Renewal (Jack McAfghan Pet Loss Trilogy Book 3))
Silence cut him to the quick as it breathed a tale he didn’t want to hear.
Kimber Silver (Broken Rhodes)
Just look at this life: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and brutishness of the weak, impossible poverty all around us, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lies...Yet in all the houses and streets it's quiet, peaceful; of the fifty thousand people who live in town there is not one who would cry out or become loudly indignant. We see those who go to the market to buy food, eat during the day, sleep during the night, who talk their nonsense, get married, grow old, complacently drag their dead to the cemetery; but we don't see or hear those who suffer, and the horrors of life go on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and only mute statistics protest: so many gone mad, so many buckets drunk, so many children dead of malnutrition... And this order is obviously necessary; obviously the happy man feels good only because the unhappy bear their burden silently, and without that silence happiness would be impossible. It's a general hypnosis. At the door of every happy, contented man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him--illness, poverty, loss--and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn't hear or see others now. But there is nobody with a little hammer, the happy man lives on, and the petty cares of life stir him only slightly, as wind stirs an aspen--and everything is fine.
Anton Chekhov (Five Great Short Stories)
The country singers understand. It’s always that one song that gets you. You can hide, but the song comes to find you. Country singers are always twanging about that number on the jukebox they can’t stand to hear you play, the one with the memories.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
Deep spirit scanning,” Eisfanger says. His voice has a strange resonance to it, like I’m hearing him through a bad phone connection. “Don’t worry, it’s completely safe. Well, mostly.” “Mostly?” “Side effects have been documented,” he admits. “In a very small percentage of cases. Less than two percent.” “What kind of side effects?” Suddenly I’m feeling nauseous. Feels like the ants are crawling around inside me now, which is exactly as disturbing as it sounds. “Memory loss. Synesthesia. And occasionally … vestigial growths.” “So I could forget my own name, start smelling purple everywhere and have an extra nipple sprout from my forehead?
D.D. Barant (Back from the Undead (The Bloodhound Files, #5))
As I have pointed out before, characters are not born like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human possibility that the author thinks no one else has discovered or said something essential about. But isn't it true that an author can write only about himself? Staring impotently across a courtyard, at a loss for what to do; hearing the pertinacious rumbling of one's own stomach during a moment of love; betraying, yet lacking the will to abandon the glamorous path of betrayal; raising one's fist with the crowds in the Grand March; displaying one's wit before hidden microphones—I have known all these situations, I have experienced them myself, yet none of them has given rise to the person my curriculum vitae and I represent. The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities. That is why I am equally fond of them all and equally horrified by them. Each one has crossed a border that I myself have circumvented. It is that crossed border (the border beyond which my own "I" ends) which attracts me most. For beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. The novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
There are many of us here. A whole street. That's what it's called--Chernobylskaya. These people worked at the station their whole lives. A lot of them still go there to work on a provisional basis, that's how they work there now, no one lives there anymore. They have bad diseases, they're invalids, but they don't leave their jobs, they're scared to even think of the reactor closing down. Who needs them now anywhere else? Often they die. In an instant. They just drop--someone will be walking, he falls down, goes to sleep, never wakes up. He was carrying flowers for his nurse and his heart stopped. They die, but no one's really asked us. No one's asked what we've been through. What we saw. No one wants to hear about death. About what scares them. But I was telling you about love. About my love... -- Lyudmila, Ignatenko, wife of deceased fireman, Vasily Ignatenko
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
If I walked too far and wondered loud enough the fields would change. I could look down and see horse corn and I could hear it then- singing- a kind of low humming and moaning warning me back from the edge. My head would throb and the sky would darken and it would be that night again, that perpetual yesterday lived again. My soul solidifying, growing heavy. I came up to the lip of my grave this way many times but had yet to stare in. I did begin to wonder what the word heaven meant. I thought, if this were heaven, truly heaven, it would be where my grandparents lived. Where my father's father, my favorite of them all, would lift me up and dance with me. I would feel only joy and have no memory, no cornfield and no grave. You can have that,' Franny said to me. 'Plenty of people do.' How do you make the switch?' I asked. It's not as easy as you might think,' she said. 'You have to stop desiring certain answers.' I don't get it.' If you stop asking why you were killed instead of someone else, stop investigating the vaccum left by your loss, stop wondering what everyone left on Earth is feeling,' she said, 'you can be free. Simply put, you have to give up on Earth.' This seemed impossible to me. ... She used the bathroom, running the tap noisily and disturbing the towels. She knew immediately that her mother had bought these towels- cream, a ridiculous color for towels- and monogrammed- also ridiculous, my mother thought. But then, just as quickly, she laughed at herself. She was beginning to wonder how useful her scorched-earth policy had been to her all these years. Her mother was loving if she was drunk, solid if she was vain. When was it all right to let go not only of the dead but of the living- to learn to accept? I was not in the bathroom, in the tub, or in the spigot; I did not hold court in the mirror above her head or stand in miniature at the tip of every bristle on Lindsey's or Buckley's toothbrush. In some way I could not account for- had they reached a state of bliss? were my parents back together forever? had Buckley begun to tell someone his troubles? would my father's heart truly heal?- I was done yearning for them, needing them to yearn for me. Though I still would. Though they still would. Always.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
A pure heart is like pure gold—soft, tender, and pliable. Hebrews 3:13 states that hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin! If we do not deal with an offense, it will produce more fruit of sin, such as bitterness, anger, and resentment. This added substance hardens our hearts just as alloys harden gold. This reduces or removes tenderness, creating a loss of sensitivity. We are hindered in our ability to hear God’s voice. Our accuracy to see is darkened. This is a perfect setting for deception.
John Bevere (The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense)
I was very sorry to hear about your losses. Your brother was a terrible traitor, I know, but if we start killing men at weddings they'll be more frightened of marriage than they are presently. (Olenna Tyrell to Sansa Stark
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3, Part 2 of 2))
My darling Julie, I know you'll never see this letter, but it helps to write to you every day. It keeps you close to me. G-d, I miss you so. You haunt every hour of my life. I wish I'd never met you. No-I don't mean that! What good would my life be without my memories of you to make me smile. I keep wondering if you're happy. I want you to be. I want you to have a glorious life. That's why I couldn't say the things I knew you wanted to hear when we were together. I was afraid if I did, you'd wait for me for years. I knew you wanted me to say I loved you. Not saying that to you was the only unselfish thing I did in Colorado, and I now I regret even that. I love you, Julie. Christ, I love you so much. I'd give up all my life to have one year with you. Six months. Three. Anything. You stole my heart in just a few days, darling, but you gave me your heart, too. I know you did- I could see it in your eyes every time you looked at me. I don't regret the loss of my freedom any more or rage at the injustice of the years I spent in prison. Now, my only regret is that I can't have you. You're young, and I know you'll forget about me quickly and go on with your own life. That's exactly what you should do. It's what you must do. I want you to do that, Julie. That's such a lousy lie. What I really want is to see you again, to hold you in my arms, to make love to you over and over again until I've filled you so completely that there's no room left inside of you for anyone but me, ever. I never thought of sexual intercourse as 'making love' until you. You never knew that. .... I wish I had time to write you a better letter or that I'd kept one of the others I've written so I could send that instead. They were all much more coherent than this one. I won't send another letter to you, so don't watch for one. Letters will make us both hope and dream, and if I don't stop doing that, I will die of wanting you. Before I go--I see from the newspapers that Costner has a new movie coming out in the States. If you dare to start fantasizing over Kevin after you see it, I will haunt you for the rest of your life. I love you, Julie. I loved in Colorado. I love you here, where I am. I will always love you. Everywhere. Always.
Judith McNaught (Perfect (Second Opportunities, #2))
I miss you in the maddening noise of crowd, I hear your laughter at my folly with sweet indifference, I miss you like a frozen tear finding its course, I miss you in your presence inside me, I miss you in the every breath I take.
Debatrayee Banerjee (A Whispering Leaf. . .)
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
Augustine of Hippo (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol 2 (De Genesi ad litteram))
In the aftermath of an athletic humiliation on an unprecedented scale—a loss to a tortoise in a footrace so staggering that, his tormenters teased, it would not only live on in the record books, but would transcend sport itself, and be taught to children around the world in textbooks and bedtime stories for centuries; that hundreds of years from now, children who had never heard of a “tortoise” would learn that it was basically a fancy type of turtle from hearing about this very race—the hare retreated, understandably, into a substantial period of depression and self-doubt.
B.J. Novak (One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories)
Missing someone is the worst form of torture because it never goes away no matter where you are or what you do with your life. When a person is gone and all you have of them is a fuzzy recollection of what it was like to hear your phone buzz with texts from them, the joy you experienced while in their company, that instance when the bond you shared shattered, you long for all that was lost and could’ve been gained. You have memories and nothing more. And no matter how much times passes, you still feel the ache of their absence whenever they rise into your thoughts. Torture.
Caroline George (The Vestige)
Listen to the words you say. The very words you say to them are the very words you need to hear. Humans tend to give each other what they themselves need. So tell them these important things and then turn around and tell them to your very own heart.
Kate McGahan (Only Gone From Your Sight: Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss and Grief)
I don’t wanna hear the sorry’s I’m tired of all the talkin’ to be honest I would rather see a difference Yeah, you pass me in the hallway But you ain’t say a word to me Lately all I ever feel is distant You don’t care that you lost me What’s wrong with ya
Nathan Feuerstein (NF)
And when I'd lost him this time, to the sea, I'd remembered the sense of him beside me, warm and solid in my bed, and the rhythm of his breathing. The light across the bones of his face in moonlight and the flush of his skin in the rising sun. I could hear him breathe when I lay in bed alone in my room at Chestnut Street -- slow, regular, never stopping -- even though I knew it HAD stopped. The sound would comfort me, then drive me mad with the knowledge of loss, so I pulled the pillow hard over my head in a futile attempt to shut it out -- only to emerge into the night of the room, thick with woodsmoke and candle wax and vanished light, and be comforted to hear it once more.
Diana Gabaldon (Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8))
This book is for the mothers who've had to say goodbye too soon. I see you, I hear you, and I honor your hearts with wings. You are the strongest individuals alive, and I'm blown away by your strength, your ability to love, and your ability to not quit on life.
Brittainy C. Cherry (Disgrace)
I can hear my mom. I can hear her take a deep breath. I hear her pushing words out, and I can almost see her, for a second, the look on her face, her hand pressed to her own heart, the other in a fist. "You can go if you have to go," my mom says, and her voice shakes, but she's solid. She says it again, so I'll know. "You can go if you have to go, okay, baby? Don't wait for me. I love you, you're mine, you'll always be mine, and this is going to be okay, you're safe, baby, you're safe-" ...And after that? There's nothing.
Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia (Magonia, #1))
Hearing my brother’s words coming out of Henry, this stranger in a strange town, made me feel wild with all the loss—wild and wired with no place to put those feelings.
Laura Anderson Kurk (Glass Girl (Glass Girl, #1))
I hear the noise in his voice, and I hear a boy trying to scare the darkness away. I wish I could hear what happened next, but nothing did.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
Kavita’s arms are still outstretched, but they hold nothing. After the metal gate clangs shut behind them, Kavita can still hear Usha’s piercing wail echoing inside.
Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Hearing doctors tell you that you can’t get pregnant does not extinguish the hope.
Padma Lakshmi (Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir)
I was reading a poem by my idol, Wallace Stevens, in which he said, ‘The self is a cloister of remembered sounds.’ My first response was, Yesss! How did he know that? It’s like he’s reading my mind. But my second response was, I need some new sounds to remember. I’ve been stuck in my little isolation chamber for so long I’m spinning through the same sounds I’ve been hearing in my head all my life. If I go on this way, I’ll get old too fast, without remembering any more sounds than I already know now. The only one who remembers any of my sounds is me. How do you turn down the volume on your personal-drama earphones and learn how to listen to other people? How do you jump off one moving train, marked Yourself, and jump onto a train moving in the opposite direction, marked Everybody Else? I loved a Modern Lovers song called, ‘Don’t Let Our Youth Go to Waste,’ and I didn’t want to waste mine.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
Now the son whose father's existance in this world is historical and speculative even before the son has entered it in a bad way. All his life he carries before him the idol of a perfection to which he can never attain. The father dead has euchered his son of his patrimony. For it is the death of the father to which the son is entitled and to which he is heir, more than his goods.He will not hear of the small mean ways that tempered the man in life. He will not see him struggling in follies of his own devising. No. The world which he inherits bears him false witness. He is broken before a frozen god and he will never find his way.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
The idea of people looking at me all sympathetic... I just can't deal with that." "Yep. I hear you," Peggy said. ... "I mean their hearts are in the right place but if you have not been through it then it's impossible to understand. It's like we're in the club or something.
Richard Roper (How Not to Die Alone)
As the love of him who is love transcends ours as the heavens are higher than the earth, so must he desire in his child infinitely more than the most jealous love of the best mother can desire in hers. He would have him rid of all discontent, all fear, all grudging, all bitterness in word or thought, all gauging and measuring of his own with a different rod from that he would apply to another's. He will have no curling of the lip; no indifference in him to the man whose service in any form he uses; no desire to excel another, no contentment at gaining by his loss. He will not have him receive the smallest service without gratitude; would not hear from him a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache, be the ache ever so transient.
George MacDonald (Hope of the Gospel)
So many words get lost. They leave the mough and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon'tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglassI'veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme... There was a time when it wasn't uncommon to use a piece of string to guide words that otherwise might falter on the way to their destinations. Shy people carried a little bundle of string in their pockets, but people considered loudmouths had no less need for it, since those used to being overheard my everyone were often at a loss for how to make themselves heard by someone. The physical distance two people using a string was often small; somtimes the smaller the distance, the greater the need for the string. The practice of attaching cups to the ends of the string came much later. Some say it is related to the irrepressible urge to pressshells to our ears, to hear the still-surviving echo of the world's first expression. Others say it was started by a man who held the end of a string that was unraveled across the ocean by a girl who left for America. When the world grew bigger, and there wasn't enough string to keep the things people wanted to say from disappearing into the wastness, the telephone was invented. Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever for, is conduct a person's silence.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
In those long-ago days I saw a daughter with a disability. Now I see a beautiful, engaging person with a different ability, one that has blessed her with extra gifts and special perceptions.
Lee Woodruff (Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress)
Come up into the hills, O my young love. Return! O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again, as first I knew you in the timeless valley, where we shall feel ourselves anew, bedded on magic in the month of June. There was a place where all the sun went glistening in your hair, and from the hill we could have put a finger on a star. Where is the day that melted into one rich noise? Where the music of your flesh, the rhyme of your teeth, the dainty languor of your legs, your small firm arms, your slender fingers, to be bitten like an apple, and the little cherry-teats of your white breasts? And where are all the tiny wires of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the mouths of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this loveliness. You who were made for music, will hear music no more: in your dark house the winds are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that marriage that we did not foresee, return not into life, but into magic, where we have never died, into the enchanted wood, where we still life, strewn on the grass. Come up into the hills, O my young love: return. O lost, and by the wind grieved ghost, come back again.
Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)
HONESTY is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth. The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of grief that is conferred upon even the most average life. Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.
David Whyte
Not everyone understands the love that takes place between two soul mates. Once it strikes, you are never the same. Then every song you hear about true love finally makes sense. All the famous love poems resonate in your heart when you read them. You come to recognize those who have also come to recognize the deepest, truest love …and they recognize you too. You cannot experience this level of relationship with someone who has not been into the depths of love and spirit. You cannot fault them. They are on their own path and if you do anything, pity them for not yet knowing what love is all about.
Kate McGahan (Jack McAfghan: Return from Rainbow Bridge: An Afterlife Story of Loss, Love and Renewal (Jack McAfghan Pet Loss Trilogy Book 3))
The development of that brain, science shows us, is absolutely related to the language environment of the young child. This does not mean that the brain stops developing after three years, but it does emphasize those years as critical. In fact, the diagnosis of hearing loss in babies had often been called a “neurologic emergency,” essentially because of the expected negative impact on a newborn’s development.
Dana Suskind (Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain)
My dearest, I write this letter by candlelight as you lie sleeping. And though I can't hear the soft sounds of your slumber, I know you are there, and soon I will be lying next to you again as I always have. And I will feel your warmth and your comfort, and your breaths will slowly guide me to the place where I dream of you and the wonderful man you are. I see the flame beside me and it reminds me of another fire, (with me in your soft clothes and you in your jeans) of me and you. I knew then we would always be together. My heart had been captured, and I knew inside that it had always been yours. Who was I to question a love that rode on shooting stars and roared like crashing waves? For that is what is was between us then and that is what it is today. You are my best friend as well as my lover, and I do not know which side of you I enjoy the most. I treasure each side, just as I have treasured our life together. You have something inside you, something beautiful and strong. Kindness, that's what I see when I look at you, that's what everyone sees. Kindness. You are the most forgiving and peaceful man I know. God is with you, He must be, for you are the closest thing to an angel that I've ever seen. We have lived a lifetime most couples never know, and yet, when I look at you, I am frightened by the knowledge that all this will be ending soon. (For we both know my prognosis and what it will mean to us.) I see your tears and I worry more about you than I do about me, because I fear the pain I know you will go through. There are no words to express my sorrow for this, and I am at a loss for words. So I love you so deeply, so incredibly much. Know that I love you, that I always will, and that no matter what happens, know I have led the greatest life possible. My life with you. I love you. I love you now as I write this, and I love you now as you read this. And I am so sorry if I am not able to tell you. I love you deeply. You are, and always have been, my dream.
Nicholas Sparks
good news is that we’re all doomed, and you can give up any sense of control. Resistance is futile. Many things are going to get worse and weaker, especially democracy and the muscles in your upper arms. Most deteriorating conditions, though, will have to do with your family, the family in which you were raised and your current one. A number of the best people will have died, badly, while the worst thrive. The younger middle-aged people struggle with the same financial, substance, and marital crises that their parents did, and the older middle-aged people are, like me, no longer even late-middle-aged. We’re early old age, with failing memories, hearing loss, and gum disease. And also, while I hate to sound pessimistic, there are also new, tiny, defenseless people who are probably doomed, too, to the mental ruin of ceaseless striving. What most of us live by and for is the love of family—blood family, where the damage occurred, and chosen, where a bunch of really nutty people fight back together. But both kinds of families can be as hard and hollow as bone, as mystical and common, as dead and alive, as promising and depleted. And by the same token, only redeeming familial love can save you from this crucible, along with nature and clean sheets. A
Anne Lamott (Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace)
I went to the library seeking information on what might bring hearing back, but now I wonder if there's a way to make it go away again. I can't see why our ancestors thought hearing was such a great thing, why they mourned its loss so much. It's jarring and distracting, making it impossible to focus on anything else.
Richelle Mead (Soundless)
A dozen men are shut up together in a little bark upon the wide, wide sea, and for months and months see no forms and hear no voices but their own, and one is taken suddenly from among them, and they miss him at every turn. It is like losing a limb. There are no new faces or new scenes to fill up the gap. There is always an empty berth in the forecastle, and one man wanting when the small night-watch is mustered. There is one less to take the wheel, and one less to lay out with you upon the yard. You miss his form, and the sound of his voice, for habit had made them almost necessary to you, and each of your senses feels the loss.
Richard Henry Dana Jr. (Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea)
Every happy man should have some one with a little hammer at his door to knock and remind him that there are unhappy people, and that, however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show its claws, and some misfortune will befall him -- illness, poverty, loss, and then no one will see or hear him, just as he now neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer, and the happy go on living, just a little fluttered with the petty cares of every day, like an aspen-tree in the wind -- and everything is all right.
Anton Chekhov (Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov)
Another form of bargaining, which many people do, and she did too, is to replay the final painful moments over and over in her head as if by doing so she could eventually create a different outcome. It is natural to replay in your mind the details. Deep in your heart you know what is true. Your mouth speaks the words, “My cat has died,” but you still don’t really want to believe it. You go over and over and over it in your mind. Your heart replays the scene for you for the express purpose of teaching you to accept what has happened. While your heart tries to “rewire” your mind to accept it, your mind keeps looking for a different answer. It doesn’t like the truth. Like anything else, when you hear it enough, you finally accept that it is true.
Kate McGahan (Jack McAfghan: Return from Rainbow Bridge: An Afterlife Story of Loss, Love and Renewal (Jack McAfghan Pet Loss Trilogy Book 3))
When I hear health professionals suggesting that you shouldn't worry about the balance of calories in versus calories out, but rather eat clean and follow your hunger instincts, well, I really just want to pinch their heads off. That's like a millionaire suggesting that instead of worrying about that's in your bank account, just listen to your shopping instincts and buy high-quality goods . . . weight loss is not magic. To a great extent, it's accounting.
Chalene Johnson (PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin' Body, and the Life You Deserve!)
At the core of this grief is our longing to belong. This longing is wired into us by necessity. It assures our safety and our ability to extend out into the world with confidence. This feeling of belonging is rooted in the village and, at times, in extended families. It was in this setting that we emerged as a species. It was in this setting that what we require to become fully human was established. Jean Liedloff writes, "the design of each individual was a reflection of the experience it expected to encounter." We are designed to receive touch, to hear sounds and words entering our ears that soothe and comfort. We are shaped for closeness and for intimacy with our surroundings. Our profound feelings of lacking something are not reflection of personal failure, but the reflection of a society that has failed to offer us what we were designed to expect. Liedloff concludes, "what was once man's confident expectations for suitable treatment and surroundings is now so frustrated that a person often thinks himself lucky if he is not actually homeless or in pain. But even as he is saying, 'I am all right,' there is in him a sense of loss, a longing for something he cannot name, a feeling of being off-center, of missing something. Asked point blank, he will seldom deny it.
Francis Weller (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief)
Secular society has been unfairly impoverished by the loss of an array of practices and themes which atheists typically find it impossible to live with because they seem too closely associated with, to quote Nietzsche’s useful phrase, ‘the bad odours of religion’. We have grown frightened of the word morality. We bridle at the thought of hearing a sermon. We flee from the idea that art should be uplifting or have an ethical mission. We don’t go on pilgrimages. We can’t build temples. We have no mechanisms for expressing gratitude. Strangers rarely sing together. We are presented with an unpleasant choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle or just charming rituals for which we struggle to find equivalents in secular society.
Alain de Botton (Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion)
I do think my story is very unique because having a partial disability, you are deemed by society as someone who is born to fail. This alone had made me more determined to succeed not just for myself but for the Deaf community as well. Hence my motto in life is to live a purpose driven life, be an example to the lost in the world and to leave a legacy.
Jenelle Joanne Ramsami
Why does she deserve to be so angry? What has she truly lost? Quietly, to herself, she answers her own question: I have lost a child. The statement jolts her. She hears in her own voice a latch sliding into place. She says it again, phrased slightly differently, I have lost my child. Is it grief she feels? Is grief even a feeling to which she is entitled?
Torrey Peters (Detransition, Baby)
Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man,” Maester Aemon said from the far end of the table. He spoke softly, yet the high officers of the Night’s Watch all fell quiet, the better to hear what the ancient had to say. “I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world.” Tyrion answered gently, “I’ve been called many things, my lord, but giant is seldom one of them.” “Nonetheless,” Maester Aemon said as his clouded, milk-white eyes moved to Tyrion’s face, “I think it is true.” For once, Tyrion Lannister found himself at a loss for words. He could only bow his head politely and say, “You are too kind, Maester Aemon.” The blind man smiled. He was a tiny thing, wrinkled and hairless, shrunken beneath the weight of a hundred years so his maester’s collar with its links of many metals hung loose about his throat. “I have been called many things, my lord,” he said, “but kind is seldom one of them.” This time Tyrion himself led the laughter.
George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1))
You are the only person I'd like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if I should hear that you died, my life as you know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
I can't explain the birds to you even if I tried. In the early morning, when the sun's rays peek over the mountain and subtly light up the landscape in a glow that, if audible, would sound like a hum, the birds sing. They sing in a layered symphony, hundreds deep. You really can't believe how beautiful it is. You hear bass notes from across the farm and soprano notes from the tree in front of you all at once, at varying volumes, like a massive choir that stretches across fifty acres of land. I love birds. But not as much as my wife loves them. My wife thinks about them, whereas I only notice them once they call for attention. But she looks for them, builds fountains for them, and saves them after they crash into windows. I've seen her save many birds. She holds them gently in the palm of her hand, and she takes them to one of the fountains she's built especially for them and holds their beaks up to the gentle trickle of water to let them drink, to wake them up from their dazed stupor. No matter how much time it takes, she doesn't leave them until they recover. And they mostly always do.
Portia de Rossi (Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain)
I don't like to come home. Other houses have warmth in them, the lines between the people who live there humming with unspent energy ready to unreel. Conversations from the past still hover in the air, waiting for the threads to be picked up again. The air here is cold, empty to the point of sterility. When I hear my name it's shocking, a word that isn't spoken. Taboo.
Mindy McGinnis (The Female of the Species)
You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Although you may see with clarity and passion a promising future of progress and gain, people will see with equal passion the losses you are asking them to sustain.
Martin Linsky (Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading)
It’s hard to remember what you fall in love with. Usually it is an expression in the eyes, an exchange, or a gesture or the sound of a voice, a word spoken. Those things can get blended with the atmosphere around you at the time — a fragrance in the air, a play of light, even music — so that they become almost one with each other and when you see or smell or hear the memories of a place you feel the love again, but as a pang of loss. Sometimes the feelings get connected so deeply to your body that even your own skin, your own eyes in the mirror remind you of what you no longer have. Sometimes it only takes a few things for someone to attach the way I did — enough hunger, enough loneliness, enough loss, someone who will feed you and touch you and listen. Sometimes attachment — call it love — is more complex than that. When you are in the state I was in, love can be tied up with other things, like excitement and danger, and the desire to know what really happened, what actually took place.
Francesca Lia Block (The Elementals)
One I love is taken from me, we will never walk together over the fields of earth, never hear the birds in the morning. Oh, how I have lived with you and loved you, and now you are gone away. Gone where I cannot follow, until I have finished all my days.
Victoria Hanley
I had a bizarre rapport with this mirror and spent a lot of time gazing into the glass to see who was there. Sometimes it looked like me. At other times, I could see someone similar but different in the reflection. A few times, I caught the switch in mid-stare, my expression re-forming like melting rubber, the creases and features of my face softening or hardening until the mutation was complete. Jekyll to Hyde, or Hyde to Jekyll. I felt my inner core change at the same time. I would feel more confident or less confident; mature or childlike; freezing cold or sticky hot, a state that would drive Mum mad as I escaped to the bathroom where I would remain for two hours scrubbing my skin until it was raw. The change was triggered by different emotions: on hearing a particular piece of music; the sight of my father, the smell of his brand of aftershave. I would pick up a book with the certainty that I had not read it before and hear the words as I read them like an echo inside my head. Like Alice in the Lewis Carroll story, I slipped into the depths of the looking glass and couldn’t be sure if it was me standing there or an impostor, a lookalike. I felt fully awake most of the time, but sometimes while I was awake it felt as if I were dreaming. In this dream state I didn’t feel like me, the real me. I felt numb. My fingers prickled. My eyes in the mirror’s reflection were glazed like the eyes of a mannequin in a shop window, my colour, my shape, but without light or focus. These changes were described by Dr Purvis as mood swings and by Mother as floods, but I knew better. All teenagers are moody when it suits them. My Switches could take place when I was alone, transforming me from a bright sixteen-year-old doing her homework into a sobbing child curled on the bed staring at the wall. The weeping fit would pass and I would drag myself back to the mirror expecting to see a child version of myself. ‘Who are you?’ I’d ask. I could hear the words; it sounded like me but it wasn’t me. I’d watch my lips moving and say it again, ‘Who are you?
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
Well, I'm sorry you couldn't make it either. I'm sorry I had to sit there in that church--which, by the way, had a broken air conditioner--sweating, watching all those people march down the aisle to look in my mother's casket and whisper to themselves all this mess about how much she looked like herself, even though she didn't. I'm sorry you weren't there to hear the lame choir drag out, song after song. I'm sorry you weren't there to see my dad try his best to be upbeat, cracking bad jokes in his speech, choking on his words. I'm sorry you weren't there to watch me totally lose it and explode into tears. I'm sorry you weren't there for me, but it doesn't matter, because even if you were, you wouldn't be able to feel what I feel. Nobody can. Even the preacher said so.
Jason Reynolds (The Boy in the Black Suit)
When you get emotional, slow your thoughts down, and listen attentively (write it down). That way, you'll be able to hear what you are thinking. You do this becoming very still and very quiet, and recording your thoughts. These high-speed thoughts and internal reactions always precede your feelings and emotions. Trust me, you did tell yourself something if you now feel anger, mad, anxious, frustrated, sad or depressed. From now on, whenever you get upset, listen ever so carefully, to what you are telling yourself.
Phillip C. McGraw (The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom)
A scream is a sound we make that is born of intense feeling. A scream of fear, of being startled, is often high-pitched. It may be short or prolonged. A scream may also accompany delight or amusement, though often that is more of a squeal. And a scream of sorrow or rage ... well, that is an entirely different thing. That comes from a darker place, from the depths of our souls, and when we scream in those times, because we are sad or angry, there is a terrible knowledge that accompanies it, that we are giving voice to our emotions, to what is simply too big for our hearts to contain. And as Li Wei cries out, I know Feng Ji is right. It is his heart I am hearing, a way of expressing what he feels over his father's loss that is both primal and beautiful, and it comes from his soul and reaches something within mine. It is the sound my own heart made when my parents died, only I didn't know it until now.
Richelle Mead (Soundless)
How're you holding up?" He slid down the wall next to me and handed me a beer. "I've had better days." I took a long, satisfying drink and stared at the wall in front of me. "Yeah," was his simple reply. "My dad is downstairs. He said this wake sucks." I could hear that he was smiling. I took another swig. "Well, I didn't plan this shindig, but the next funeral I host, I'll make sure it's a rager.
J.B. Hartnett (The Morbid and Sultry Tales of Genevieve Clare)
Interpretation takes the sensory experience of the work of art for granted, and proceeds from there. This cannot be taken for granted, now. Think of the sheer multiplication of works of art available to every one of us, superadded to the conflicting tastes and odors and sights of the urban environment that bombard our senses. Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. (...) And it is in the light of the condition of our senses, our capacities, that the task of the critic must be assessed. What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to See more, to Hear more, to Feel more.
Susan Sontag (Against Interpretation and Other Essays)
What is so sweet as to awake from a troubled dream and behold a beloved face smiling upon you? I love to believe that such shall be our awakening from earth to heaven. My faith never wavers that each dear friend I have “lost” is a new link between this world and the happier land beyond the morn. My soul is for the moment bowed down with grief when I cease to feel the touch of their hands or hear a tender word from them; but the light of faith never fades from the sky, and I take heart again, glad they are free. I cannot understand why anyone should fear death…Suppose there are a million chances against that one that my loved ones who have gone on are alive. What of it? I will take that one chance and risk mistake, rather than let any doubts sadden their souls, and find out afterward. Since there is that one chance of immortality, I will endeavor not to cast a shadow on the joy of the departed…Certainly it is one of our sweetest experiences that when we are touched by some noble affection or pure joy, we remember the dead most tenderly, and feel more powerfully drawn to them.
Helen Keller (The Open Door)
The dominant way we deal with death in our culture is religious. And our religious culture deals with death by pretending it isn’t real. Religion deals with death by pretending it isn’t permanent; by pretending that the loss of the ones we love is just like a long vacation apart; by pretending that our dead loved ones are still hanging around somehow, like the dead grandparents in a “Family Circus” cartoon; by pretending that our own death is just a one-way trip to a different place. Our religious culture deals with death by putting it on the back burner, by encouraging people to stick their fingers in their ears and yell, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!
Greta Christina (Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God)
Losing your faith in a world where God is all around you is a precarious business. When God shows his face on a daily basis to your friends and neighbors, it is, on some level, impossible to stop believing in Him. Instead i felt that God chose to exclude me from His world. Since i was the only one to lose faith, to stop hearing Christ's voice, i thought perhaps it was my fault that Roy had left us. I thought i was being punished for some unknown sin. I had learned early in my Catholic career that one could sin silently in one's heart. One could even sin without ever discovering what one had done or why it was wrong. What had i done, i asked myself, to make God disappear and take Roy with Him.
Alison Smith
How sweet I roam'd from field to field, And tasted all the summer's pride, 'Till I the prince of love beheld, Who in the sunny beams did glide! He shew'd me lilies for my hair, And blushing roses for my brow; He led me through his gardens fair, Where all his golden pleasures grow. With sweet May dews my wings were wet, And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage; He caught me in his silken net, And shut me in his golden cage. He loves to sit and hear me sing, Then, laughing, sports and plays with me; Then stretches out my golden wing, And mocks my loss of liberty.
William Blake (The Complete Poems)
People do not resist change, per se. People resist loss. You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Although you may see with clarity and passion a promising future of progress and gain, people will see with equal passion the losses you are asking them to sustain.
Martin Linsky (Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading)
As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this worldview, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions. After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. "I don't know" had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once. But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn't know and couldn't explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening. For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy. I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us. Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait. I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don't seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)
There were days so clear and skies so brilliant blue, with white clouds scudding across them like ships under full sail, and she felt she could lift right off the ground. One moment she was ambling down a path, and the next thing she knew, the wind would take hold of her, like a hand pushing against her back. Her feet would start running without her even willing it, even knowing it. And she would run faster and faster across the prairie, until her heart jumped like a rabbit and her breath came in deep gasps and her feet barely skimmed the ground. It felt good to spend herself this way. The air tasted fresh and delicious; it smelled like damp earth, grass, and flowers. And her body felt strong, supple, and hungry for more of everything life could serve up. She ran and felt like one of the animals, as though her feet were growing up out of the earth. And she knew what they knew, that sometimes you ran just because you could, because of the way the rush of air felt on your face and how your legs reached out, eating up longer and longer patches of ground. She ran until the blood pounded in her ears, so loud that she couldn't hear the voices that said, You're not good enough, You're not old enough, You're not beautiful or smart or loveable, and you will always be alone. She ran because there were ghosts chasing her, shadows that pursued her, heartaches she was leaving behind. She was running for her life, and those phantoms couldn't catch her, not here, not anywhere. She would outrun fear and sadness and worry and shame and all those losses that had lined up against her like a column of soldiers with their guns shouldered and ready to fire. If she had to, she would outrun death itself. She would keep on running until she dropped, exhausted. Then she would roll over onto her back and breathe in the endless sky above her, sun glinting off her face. To be an animal, to have a body like this that could taste, see hear, and fly through space, to lie down and smell the earth and feel the heat of the sun on your face was enough for her. She did not need anything else but this: just to be alive, cool air caressing her skin, dreaming of Ivy and what might be ahead.
Pamela Todd (The Blind Faith Hotel)
And this is what living next to a waterfall is like, Safran. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night's sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Yor great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
I love you. I want to know what you are going through, if not now, then some day I want to sit with you and hear it. My imagination is not big enough to comprehend the emotions you are having. How small and insignificant all of this worldly stuff must seem to you. Can you talk? You must miss him intensely. You must think about him in every moment. Which is harder for you, being alone or being in the world of people? Life must feel surreal to you.
Christine Silverstein
To my amazement and great, bittersweet joy, I can hear in him every reason I feell in love with his father—everything, like a second sonata to a first. All the lovely unspoiled good of N, bubbling forth from his son, unlooked for, oozing up from a well of genealogy and fate. I can manage to misplace my husabnd, but this flesh is chained to mine. I will always be reminded of the marital loss, but I have the benefits of the entire play, the witness of the evolution, the new art. I see the magic every day; I live with the sorcerer in yellow pants. N gets pieces and stems of A, random and marred by guilty.
Suzanne Finnamore (Split: A Memoir of Divorce)
Justin: I am falling so in love with you. Her body electrified. Celeste wiped her eyes and read his text again. The drone of the plane disappeared; the turbulence was no more. There was only Justin and his words. Justin: I lose myself and find myself at the same time with you. Justin: I need you, Celeste. I need you as part of my world, because for the first time, I am connected to someone in a way that has meaning. And truth. Maybe our distance has strengthened what I feel between us since we’re not grounded in habit or daily convenience. We have to fight for what we have. Justin: I don’t know if I can equate what I feel for you with anything else. Except maybe one thing, if this makes any sense. Justin: I go to this spot at Sunset Cliffs sometimes. It’s usually a place crowded with tourists, but certain times of year are quieter. I like it then. And there’s a high spot on the sandstone cliff, surrounded by this gorgeous ice plant, and it overlooks the most beautiful water view you’ve ever seen. I’m on top of the world there, it seems. Justin: And everything fits, you know? Life feels right. As though I could take on anything, do anything. And sometimes, when I’m feeling overcome with gratitude for the view and for what I have, I jump so that I remember to continue to be courageous because not every piece of life will feel so in place. Justin: It’s a twenty-foot drop, the water is only in the high fifties, and it’s a damn scary experience. But it’s a wonderful fear. One that I know I can get through and one that I want. Justin: That’s what it’s like with you. I am scared because you are so beyond anything I could have imagined. I become so much more with you beside me. That’s terrifying, by the way. But I will be brave because my fear only comes from finally having something deeply powerful to lose. That’s my connection with you. It would be a massive loss. Justin: And now I am in the car and about to see you, so don’t reply. I’m too flipping terrified to hear what you think of my rant. It’s hard not to pour my heart out once I start. If you think I’m out of mind, just wave your hands in horror when you spot the lovesick guy at the airport. Ten minutes went by. He had said not to reply, so she hadn’t. Justin: Let’s hope I don’t get pulled over for speeding… but I’m at a stoplight now. Justin: God, I hope you aren’t… aren’t… something bad. Celeste: Hey, Justin? Justin: I TOLD YOU NOT TO REPLY! Justin: I know, I know. But I’m happy you did because I lost it there for a minute. Celeste: HEY, JUSTIN? Justin: Sorry… Hey, Celeste? Celeste: I am, unequivocally and wholly falling in love with you, too. Justin: Now I’m definitely speeding. I will see you soon.
Jessica Park (Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love, #2))
The best part, though, was hearing my mother's voice. It was like having her again, coming out from far inside me. It hurt, of course, but more often than not the best things do, I've found. You wouldn't think it could be so, but-as the oldtimers used to say - the world's titled, and there's an end to it.
Stephen King (The Wind Through the Keyhole)
Did you say all that you meant to Before the curtain closed? Or did you feel so much more Than we'll ever know? You were an amazing person; One of the very best. You were here for part of my story; I wish you could hear the rest. I miss your smile most; The smile you had for all. Now I can only see it In pictures on the wall.
Margo T. Rose (The Words)
I can sometimes lose track of time when staring at a sky filled with wind-whipped clouds, and when I hear thunder rumbling, I always draw near the window to watch for lightning. When the next brilliant flash illuminates the sky, I often find myself filled with longing, though I’m at a loss to tell you what it is that I feel my life is missing.
Nicholas Sparks (The Wedding (The Notebook, #2))
Life goes on, whether you like it or not. I just wished it could lurch forward. Time is the best doctor, they say, and that’s bullshit, because from certain pains you can never heal. They keep screaming inside of you till eventually you get used to the noise and can hear again the life outside, but they are always there, aching, clawing at your soul.
Gaia B. Amman (Sex-O-S: The Tragicomic Adventure of an Italian Surviving the First Time (The Italian Saga, #4))
Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that "things turn out for the best." But hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to "Think Positively," or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Although there is no uniform definition of hope, I found on that seemed to capture what my patients had taught me. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see - in the mind's eye- a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.
Jerome Groopman (The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness)
The voice of grief is rather convincing, isn’t it? It tells you you’re “too old,” “not good enough,” or “not worthy enough” for another chance at life, that starting over is impossible. This voice in your head is the first thing you hear in the morning and the last thing you hear at night. It drives with you to work. It stays with you at lunch. Its message is so consistent that because of its repetitive power, you may be inclined to believe it. But, as persuasive as the voice of grief is, everything it says is a lie. It’s all a pack of lies. Do you want the truth? If you do, then start listening to life calling to you inside your grief. How? Every time you are yearning to be held and loved, to laugh again, listen to your yearning. Do not listen to your fear . . . Listen to life calling you, “I am here, come on over. Take a chance on me. I am your life, and you’re all that I’ve got.
Christina Rasmussen (Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again)
By simply stating the truth, we open conversations about grief, which are really conversations about love. We start to love one another better. We begin to overhaul the falsely redemptive storyline that has us, as a culture and as individuals, insist that there's a happy ending everywhere if only we look hard enough. We stop blaming each other for our pain, and instead, work together to change what can be changed, and withstand what can't be fixed. We get more comfortable with hearing the truth, even when the truth breaks our hearts.
Megan Devine (It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand)
Why is it that people talk about death, as if it is a part of life, when it is entirely separate? Someone passes on into the never ending void, where the living aren't allowed. We can't see, hear, touch or feel those who have succumbed to the eternal sleep, but we comfort ourselves with thoughts of a grander plan. We tell ourselves that they are in a better place, but what could be greater than breathing the same air, as those loved ones? Their pain may be gone, but pleasure can only be when it is stark against the hurt that life brings?
J.D. Stroube (Caged in Spirit (Caged, #3))
The appalling destruction and misery of this war mount hourly: destruction of what should be (indeed it is) the common wealth of Europe, and the world, if mankind were not so besotted, wealth the loss of which will affect us all, victors or not. Yet people gloat to hear of the endless lines, 40 miles long, of miserable refugees, women and children pouring West, dying on the way. There seems no bowels of mercy or compassion, no imagination, left in this dark diabolic hour. By which I do not mean that it may not all, in the present situation, mainly (not solely) created by Germany, be necessary or inevitable. But why gloat! We were supposed to have reached a stage of civilization in which it might still be necessary to execute a criminal, but not to gloat, or to hang his wife and child by him while the orc-crowd hooted. The destruction of Germany, be it 100 times merited, is one of the most appalling world-catastrophes.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Letters from Father Christmas)
If you travel internationally, you will feel shocked by contemptuous talk of America. To hear your fellow citizens characterized as barbarians who know nothing of love, food, health, and religion, but everything of lawsuits, fast food, and guns, is to experience a national fidelity of which you may not have thought yourself capable. And yet, you’re at a loss for a defense.
Hilary Thayer Hamann (Anthropology of an American Girl)
In reality, the damned are in the same place as the saved—in reality! But they hate it; it is their Hell. The saved love it, and it is their Heaven. It is like two people sitting side by side at an opera or a rock concert: the very thing that is Heaven to one is Hell to the other. Dostoyevski says, 'We are all in paradise, but we won’t see it'…Hell is not literally the 'wrath of God.' The love of God is an objective fact; the 'wrath of God' is a human projection of our own wrath upon God, as the Lady Julian saw—a disastrous misinterpretation of God’s love as wrath. God really says to all His creatures, 'I know you and I love you' but they hear Him saying, 'I never knew you; depart from me.' It is like angry children misinterpreting their loving parents’ affectionate advances as threats. They project their own hate onto their parents’ love and experience love as an enemy—which it is: an enemy to their egotistic defenses against joy… Since God is love, since love is the essence of the divine life, the consequence of loss of this life is loss of love...Though the damned do not love God, God loves them, and this is their torture. The very fires of Hell are made of the love of God! Love received by one who only wants to hate and fight thwarts his deepest want and is therefore torture. If God could stop loving the damned, Hell would cease to be pure torture. If the sun could stop shining, lovers of the dark would no longer be tortured by it. But the sun could sooner cease to shine than God cease to be God...The lovelessness of the damned blinds them to the light of glory in which they stand, the glory of God’s fire. God is in the fire that to them is Hell. God is in Hell ('If I make my bed in Hell, Thou art there' [Ps 139:8]) but the damned do not know Him.
Peter Kreeft (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven-- But Never Dreamed of Asking)
You never speak about yourself without loss. Your self-condemnation is always accredited, your self-praise discredited. There may be some people of my temperament, I who learn better by contrast than by example, and by flight than by pursuit. This was the sort of teaching that Cato the Elder had in view when he said that the wise have more to learn from the fools than the fools from the wise; and also that ancient lyre player who, Pausanias tells us, was accustomed to force his pupils to go hear a bad musician who lived across the way, where they might learn to hate his discords and false measures.
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Works)
At Abraham's burial, his two most prominent sons, rivals since before they were born, estranged since childhood, scions of rival nations, come together for the first time since they were rent apart nearly three-quarters of a century earlier. The text reports their union nearly without comment. "His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, in the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites." But the meaning of this moment cannot be diminished. Abraham achieves in death what he could never achieve in life: a moment of reconciliation between his two sons, a peaceful, communal, side-by-side flicker of possibility in which they are not rivals, scions, warriors, adversaries, children, Jews, Christians, or Muslims. They are brothers. They are mourners. In a sense they are us, forever weeping for the loss of our common father, shuffling through our bitter memories, reclaiming our childlike expectations, laughing, sobbing, furious and full of dreams, wondering about our orphaned future, and demanding the answers we all crave to hear: What did you want from me, Father? What did you leave me with, Father? And what do I do now?
Bruce Feiler (Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths)
When I am gone, release me, let me go. I have so many things to see and do, You mustn't tie yourself to me with too many tears, But be thankful we had so many good years. I gave you my love, and you can only guess How much you've given me in happiness. I thank you for the love that you have shown, But now it is time I traveled on alone. So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must, Then let your grief be comforted by trust. It is only for a while we must part, So treasure the memories within your heart. I won't be far away for life goes on. And if you need me, call and I will come. Though you can't see or touch me, I will be near. And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear, All my love around you soft and clear. And then, when you come this way alone, I'll great you with a smile and a "Welcome Home.
Robert Bryndza
If I hear the term ‘healing journey’ one more f–king time… It is not a ‘healing journey.’ It’s a ‘numb slog.’ It’s just a, ‘Well, it’s the end of another day — Guess I’ll do that tomorrow.’ It’s just a numb slog, until you start feeling s–t again. If they would call it a ‘numb slog’ instead of a ‘healing journey,’ it would make it a lot f–king easier. Because if they call it a ‘healing journey,’ it’s just a day of you eating Wheat Thins for breakfast in your underwear, you’re like ‘I guess I’m f–king up my healing journey.’ But if they would say you’re going to have a ‘numb slog,’ you could say ‘oh, I’m nailing it.
Patton Oswalt
People do not resist change, per se. People resist loss. You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Although you may see with clarity and passion a promising future of progress and gain, people will see with equal passion the losses you are asking them to sustain.
Tod Bolsinger (Leadership for a Time of Pandemic: Practicing Resilience)
I hate to sound like an old man, but why are these people famous? What qualities do they possess that endear them to the wider world? We may at once eliminate talent, intelligence, attractiveness, and charm from the equation, so what does that leave? Dainty feet? Fresh, minty breath? I am at a loss to say. Anatomically, many of them don’t even seem quite human. Many have names that suggest they have reached us from a distant galaxy: Ri-Ri, Tulisa, Naya, Jai, K-Pez, Chlamydia, Mo-Ron. (I may be imagining some of these.) As I read the magazine, I kept hearing a voice in my head, like the voice from a 1950s B-movie trailer, saying: “They came from Planet Imbecile!
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
I believe Christianity is at its core a gospel of life. I believe great breakthrough and healing are available. I believe we can prevent the thief from ransacking our lives if we will do as our Shepherd says. And when we can’t seem to find the healing or the breakthrough, when the thief does manage to pillage, I believe ours is a gospel of resurrection. Whatever loss may come, that is not the end of the story. Jesus came that we might have life.
John Eldredge (Walking with God: Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really.)
I don't think this place was everything my mother hoped for that day when she asked God where she should go to give her son the world. Though she didn't ford a river or hike across mountains, she still did what so many pioneers before had done, traveled recklessly, curiously, into the unknown of finding something just a little bit better. And like them she suffered and persevered, perhaps in equal measure. Whenever I looked at her, a castaway on the island of my queen-sized bed, it was hard for me to look past the suffering. It was hard for me not to take inventory of all that she had lost -- her home country, her husband, her son. The losses just kept piling up. It was hard for me to see her there, hear her ragged breath, and think of how she had persevered, but she had. Just lying there in my bed was a testament to her perseverance, to the fact that she survived, even when she wasn't sure she wanted to. I used to believe that God never gives us more than we can handle, but then my brother died and my mother and I were left with so much more; it crushed us. It took me many years to realize that it's hard to live in this world. I don't mean the mechanics of living, because for most of us, our hearts will beat, our lungs will take in oxygen, without us doing anything at all to tell them to. For most of us, mechanically, physically, it's hard to die than it is to live. But still we try to die. We drive too fast down winding roads, we have sex with strangers without wearing protection, we drink, we use drugs. We try to squeeze a little more life out of our lives. It's natural to want to do that. But to be alive in the world, every day, as we are given more and more and more, as the nature of "what we can handle" changes and our methods for how we handle it change, too, that's something of a miracle.
Yaa Gyasi (Transcendent Kingdom)
When [an abusive man] tells me that he became abusive because he lost control of himself, I ask him why he didn’t do something even worse. For example, I might say, “You called her a fucking whore, you grabbed the phone out of her hand and whipped it across the room, and then you gave her a shove and she fell down. There she was at your feet where it would have been easy to kick her in the head. Now, you have just finished telling me that you were ‘totally out of control’ at that time, but you didn’t kick her. What stopped you?” And the client can always give me a reason. Here are some common explanations: “I wouldn’t want to cause her a serious injury.” “I realized one of the children was watching.” “I was afraid someone would call the police.” “I could kill her if I did that.” “The fight was getting loud, and I was afraid the neighbors would hear.” And the most frequent response of all: “Jesus, I wouldn’t do that. I would never do something like that to her.” The response that I almost never heard – I remember hearing it twice in the fifteen years – was: “I don’t know.” These ready answers strip the cover off of my clients’ loss of control excuse.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
She hadn’t been Rachel that night. She was evidence, a body of things to be picked and probed at, pictured and asked about, recorded and quoted. I want my life back. The voice was faint inside her own mind. She could hear the plaintive, almost despairing note to that voice. Like the wail of a scared child, this wasn’t just about facing her fears. This was about everything. Her injuries, the loss of the life and world she’d once taken for granted, her long recovery.
Anais Torres
And then he went in the evening up to the nursery and told the boy how his mother was gone for a while to Elfland, to her father's palace (which may only be told of in song). And, unheeding any words of Orion then, he held on with the brief tale that he had come to tell, and told how Elfland was gone. "But that cannot be," said Orion, "for I hear the horns of Elfland every day." "You can hear them?" Alveric said. And the boy replied, "I hear them blowing at evening.
Lord Dunsany (The King of Elfland's Daughter)
I believe we can be serious and optimistic. I believe we can recognize the overwhelming odds against us and forge coalitions that overcome the odds. The point of beginning is not political strategy. It is a shared sense of necessity, an understanding that we must act. I believe that Americans, battered by job losses and wage stagnation, angered by inequality and injustice, have come to this understanding. I hear Americans saying loudly and clearly: enough is enough [. . .] When we declare, "Enough is enough," we are demanding a country and a future that meets the needs of the vast majority of Americans: a country and a future where it is hard to buy elections and easy to vote in them; a country and a future where tax dollars are invested in jobs and infrastructure instead of jails and incarceration; a country and a future where we have he best educated workforce and the widest range of opportunities for every child and every adult; a country and future where we take the steps necessary to ending systemic racism; a country and a future where we assure once and for all that no one who works forty hours a week will live in poverty [. . .] When we stand together there is nothing, nothing, nothing we cannot accomplish.
Bernie Sanders (Outsider in the White House)
With my eyes wide open I see the secrets in the rain I see the loss, see the pain I see you’ve lost your way again No lines drawn No boundaries made Dance with me tonight, pretty baby and let me pray Don’t let me hear you cry Starve your dream Feed your fear I’ll hold you forever here I need the rain to cleanse my soul It tortures me, it’s makes me whole I need the rain, I need it all No lines drawn No boundaries made Just stay with me tonight, pretty baby And let me pray
Renee Carlino (Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1))
The whole tradition of [oral] story telling is endangered by modern technology. Although telling stories is a very fundamental human attribute, to the extent that psychiatry now often treats 'narrative loss' -- the inability to construct a story of one's own life -- as a loss of identity or 'personhood,' it is not natural but an art form -- you have to learn to tell stories. The well-meaning mother is constantly frustrated by the inability of her child to answer questions like 'What did you do today?' (to which the answer is usually a muttered 'nothing' -- but the 'nothing' is cover for 'I don't know how to tell a good story about it, how to impose a story shape on the events'). To tell stories, you have to hear stories and you have to have an audience to hear the stories you tell. Oral story telling is economically unproductive -- there is no marketable product; it is out with the laws of patents and copyright; it cannot easily be commodified; it is a skill without monetary value. And above all, it is an activity requiring leisure -- the oral tradition stands squarely against a modern work ethic....Traditional fairy stories, like all oral traditions, need the sort of time that isn't money. "The deep connect between the forests and the core stories has been lost; fairy stories and forests have been moved into different categories and, isolated, both are at risk of disappearing, misunderstood and culturally undervalued, 'useless' in the sense of 'financially unprofitable.
Sara Maitland (Gossip from the Forest)
What do they think has happened, the old fools, To make them like this ? Do they somehow suppose It's more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember Who called this morning ? Or that, if they only chose, They could alter things back to when they danced all night, Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September ? Or do they fancy there's really been no change, And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight, Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming Watching light move ? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange: Why aren't they screaming ? At death, you break up: the bits that were you Start speeding away from each other for ever With no one to see. It's only oblivion, true: We had it before, but then it was going to end, And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower Of being here. Next time you can't pretend There'll be anything else. And these are the first signs: Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they're for it: Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines- How can they ignore it ? Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms Inside your head, and people in them, acting. People you know, yet can't quite name; each looms Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning, Setting down a Iamp, smiling from a stair, extracting A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning, The blown bush at the window, or the sun' s Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live: Not here and now, but where all happened once. This is why they give An air of baffled absence, trying to be there Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear Of taken breath, and them crouching below Extinction' s alp, the old fools, never perceiving How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet. The peak that stays in view wherever we go For them is rising ground. Can they never tell What is dragging them back, and how it will end ? Not at night? Not when the strangers come ? Never, throughout The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well, We shall find out. - The Old Fools
Philip Larkin
I don't want to tiptoe around her or him or you anymore. The only thing that's doing us making it harder for me to remember her. Sometimes i try to concentrate on her voice just so i can hear her again- The way she always said 'Hey there' when she was in a good mood, An 'Vi-o-let' when she was annoyed. For some reason, these are the easiest ones. I concentrate on them, and when i have them. I hold on to them because i don't ever want to forget how she sounded. Like it or not, She was here and now she's gone. But she doesn't have to be completely gone.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
I have another scan this week," I say lightly, hoping to reassure my loved ones that it is safe to rejoin my orbit. There is always another scan, because this is my reality. But the people I know are often busy contending with mildly painful ambition and the possibility of reward. I try to begrudge them nothing, except I'm not alongside them anymore. In the meantime, I have been hunkering down with old medical supplies and swelling resentment. I tried— haven't I tried? — to avoid fights and remember birthdays. I showed up for dance recitals and listened to weight-loss dreams and kept the granularity of my medical treatments in soft focus. A person like that would be easier to love, I reasoned. I try a small experiment and stop calling my regular rotation of friends and family, hoping that they will call me back on their own. _This is not a test. This is not a test._ The phone goes quiet, except for a handful of calls. I feel heavy with strange new grief. Is it bitter or unkind to want everyone to remember what I can't forget? Who wants to be confronted with the reality that we are all a breath away from a problem that could alter our lives completely? A friend with a very sick child said it best: I'm everyone's inspiration and and no one's friend. I am asked all the time to say that, given what I've gained in perspective, I would never go back. Who would want to know the truth? Before was better.
Kate Bowler (No Cure for Being Human: And Other Truths I Need to Hear)
The Silence of the Final Goodbye I knew you best from the silences, The time and space in between, The moment before our lips touched, The way your arms went up in the air before you laughed, The smile that we shared before we talked, The redness on your face before your tears, The sensation of your arms around me after you released the embrace. The look you gave me before you walked away, Nothing had ever been so painful, No words could say what your eyes told me, When I wake in the morning without you, It’s the first thing I hear… The silence of the final goodbye.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Gregori brought Savannah's hand to the warmth of his mouth,his breath heating the pulse beating in her wrist. The night is especially beautiful, mon petit amour.Your hero saved the girl, walks among humans, and converses with a fool.That alone should bring a smile to your face.Do not weep for what we cannot change.We will make certain that this human with us comes to no harm. Are you my hero,then? There were tears in her voice, in her mind, like an iridescent prism. She needed him, his comfort,his support under her terrible weight of guilt and love and loss. Always,for all eternity, he answered instantly,without hesitation, his eyes hot mercury. He tipped her chin up so that she met the brilliance of his silver gaze.Always, mon amour.His molten gaze trapped her blue one and held her enthralled. Your heart grows lighter.The burden of your sorrow becomes my own. He held her gaze captive for a few moments to ensure that she was free of the heaviness crushing her. Savannah blinked and moved a little away from him, wondering what she had been thinking of.What had they been talking about? "Gary." Gregori drawled the name slowly and sat back in his chair,totally relaxed. He looked like a sprawling tiger,dangerous and untamed. "Tell us about yourself." "I work a lot.I'm not married. I'm really not much of a people person. I'm basically a nerd." Gregori shifted, a subtle movement of muscles suggesting great power. "I am not familiar with this term." "Yeah,well,you wouldn't be," Gary said. "It means I have lots of brains and no brawn.I don't do the athlete thing. I'm into computers and chess and things requiring intellect. Women find me skinny,wimpy,and boring. Not something they would you." There was no bitterness in his voice,just a quiet acceptance of himself,his life. Gregori's white teeth flashed. "There is only one woman who matters to me, Gary, and she finds me difficult to live with.I cannot imagine why,can you?" "Maybe because you're jealous, possessive, concerned with every single detail of her life?" Gary plainly took the question literally, offering up his observations without judgement. "You're probably domineering,too. I can see that. Yeah.It might be tough." Savannah burst out laughing, the sound musical, rivaling the street musicians. People within hearing turned their heads and held their breath, hoping for more. "Very astute, Gary.Very, very astute. I bet you have an anormous IQ." Gregori stirred again, the movement a ripple of power,of danger. He was suddenly leaning into Gary. "You think you are intelligent? Baiting the wild animal is not too smart.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
Pierre Janet, a French professor of psychology who became prominent in the early twentieth century, attempted to fully chronicle late- Victorian hysteria in his landmark work The Major Symptoms of Hysteria. His catalogue of symptoms was staggering, and included somnambulism (not sleepwalking as we think of it today, but a sort of amnesiac condition in which the patient functioned in a trance state, or "second state," and later remembered nothing); trances or fits of sleep that could last for days, and in which the patient sometimes appeared to be dead; contractures or other disturbances in the motor functions of the limbs; paralysis of various parts of the body; unexplained loss of the use of a sense such as sight or hearing; loss of speech; and disruptions in eating that could entail eventual refusal of food altogether. Janet's profile was sufficiently descriptive of Mollie Fancher that he mentioned her by name as someone who "seems to have had all possible hysterical accidents and attacks." In the face of such strange and often intractable "attacks," many doctors who treated cases of hysteria in the 1800s developed an ill-concealed exasperation.
Michelle Stacey (The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery)
When human beings are faced with chaotic circumstances, our impulse is to stay safe by doing what we’ve always done before. To change our course of action seems far riskier than to keep on keeping on. To change anything about our lives, even our choice of toothpaste, causes great anxiety. How we are convinced finally to change is by hearing stories of other people who risked and triumphed. Not some easy triumph, either. But a hard fought one that takes every ounce of the protagonist’s inner fortitude. Because that’s what it takes in real life to leave a dysfunctional relationship, move to a new city, or quit your job. It takes guts, moxie, inner fire, the stuff of heroes. Change, no matter how small, requires loss. And the prospect of loss is far more powerful than potential gain. It’s difficult to imagine what a change will do to us. This is why we need stories so desperately.
Shawn Coyne (The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know)
It is through the heart that we see, hear and feel most clearly. It is like a radio signal. When it is strong the heart is like a megaphone and I get your message loud and clear. You message echoes throughout the universe when it comes from the heart on the wings of intention and faith. It is the most direct line of communication in existence once you filter out the “interference” of worry and doubt in your head, the thoughts that don’t matter and only serve to block the reception. Your intention is the force, love is the connection and faith is the key that opens the door between you and me.
Kate McGahan (Only Gone From Your Sight: Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss and Grief)
Wait, for now. Distrust everything if you have to. But trust the hours. Haven’t they carried you everywhere, up to now? Personal events will become interesting again. Hair will become interesting. Pain will become interesting. Buds that open out of season will become interesting. Second-hand gloves will become lovely again; their memories are what give them the need for other hands. The desolation of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness carved out of such tiny beings as we are asks to be filled; the need for the new love is faithfulness to the old. Wait. Don’t go too early. You’re tired. But everyone’s tired. But no one is tired enough. Only wait a little and listen: music of hair, music of pain, music of looms weaving our loves again. Be there to hear it, it will be the only time, most of all to hear your whole existence, rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
Galway Kinnell (Mortal Acts Mortal Words)
When Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, old age was defined as sixty-five years, yet estimated life expectancy in the United States at the time was sixty-one years for males and sixty-four years for females.62 A senior citizen today, however, can expect to live eighteen to twenty years longer. The downside is that he or she also should expect to die more slowly. The two most common causes of death in 1935 America were respiratory diseases (pneumonia and influenza) and infectious diarrhea, both of which kill rapidly. In contrast, the two most common causes of death in 2007 America were heart disease and cancer (each accounted for about 25 percent of total deaths). Some heart attack victims die within minutes or hours, but most elderly people with heart disease survive for years while coping with complications such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, general weakness, and peripheral vascular disease. Many cancer patients also remain alive for several years following their diagnosis because of chemo-therapy, radiation, surgery, and other treatments. In addition, many of the other leading causes of death today are chronic illnesses such as asthma, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease, and there has been an upsurge in the occurrence of nonfatal but chronic illnesses such as osteoarthritis, gout, dementia, and hearing loss.63 Altogether, the growing prevalence of chronic illness among middle-aged and elderly individuals is contributing to a health-care crisis because the children born during the post–World War II baby boom are now entering old age, and an unprecedented percentage of them are suffering from lingering, disabling, and costly diseases. The term epidemiologists coined for this phenomenon is the “extension of morbidity.
Daniel E. Lieberman (The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease)
Why should caring for others begin with the self? There is an abundance of rather vague ideas about this issue, which I am sure neuroscience will one day resolve. Let me offer my own “hand waving” explanation by saying that advanced empathy requires both mental mirroring and mental separation. The mirroring allows the sight of another person in a particular emotional state to induce a similar state in us. We literally feel their pain, loss, delight, disgust, etc., through so-called shared representations. Neuroimaging shows that our brains are similarly activated as those of people we identify with. This is an ancient mechanism: It is automatic, starts early in life, and probably characterizes all mammals. But we go beyond this, and this is where mental separation comes in. We parse our own state from the other’s. Otherwise, we would be like the toddler who cries when she hears another cry but fails to distinguish her own distress from the other’s. How could she care for the other if she can’t even tell where her feelings are coming from? In the words of psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Self-absorption kills empathy.” The child needs to disentangle herself from the other so as to pinpoint the actual source of her feelings.
Frans de Waal (The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society)
There is no good talking to him,” said a Dragon-fly, who was sitting on the top of a large brown bulrush; “no good at all, for he has gone away.” “Well, that is his loss, not mine,” answered the Rocket.  “I am not going to stop talking to him merely because he pays no attention.  I like hearing myself talk.  It is one of my greatest pleasures.  I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” “Then you should certainly lecture on Philosophy,” said the Dragon-fly; and he spread a pair of lovely gauze wings and soared away into the sky.
Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Tales)
Friends, Grecian Heroes, Ministers of Mars! Grievous, and all unlook’d for, is the blow Which Jove hath dealt me; by his promise led I hop’d to raze the strong-built walls of Troy, And home return in safety; but it seems 130 He falsifies his word, and bids me now Return to Argos, frustrate of my hope, Dishonour’d, and with grievous loss of men. Such now appears th’ o’er-ruling sov’reign will Of Saturn’s son; who oft hath sunk the heads 135 Of many a lofty city in the dust, And yet will sink; for mighty is his hand. ’Tis shame indeed that future days should hear How such a force as ours, so great, so brave, Hath thus been baffled, fighting, as we do, 140 ’Gainst numbers far inferior to our own, And see no end of all our warlike toil. For should we choose, on terms of plighted truce, Trojans and Greeks, to number our array; Of Trojans, all that dwell within the town, 145 And we, by tens disposed, to every ten, To crown our cups, one Trojan should assign, Full many a ten no cup-bearer would find: So far the sons of Greece outnumber all That dwell within the town; but to their aid 150 Bold warriors come from all the cities round, Who greatly harass me, and render vain My hope to storm the strong-built walls of Troy. Already now nine weary years have pass’d; The timbers of our ships are all decay’d, 155 The cordage rotted; in our homes the while Our wives and helpless children sit, in vain Expecting our return; and still the work, For which we hither came, remains undone. Hear then my counsel; let us all agree 160 Home to direct our course, since here in vain We strive to take the well-built walls of Troy.” Thus as he spoke, the crowd, that had not heard The secret council, by his words was mov’d; So sway’d and heav’d the multitude, as when 165 O’er the vast billows of th’ Icarian sea Eurus and Notus from the clouds of Heav’n Pour forth their fury; or as some deep field Of wavy corn, when sweeping o’er the plain The ruffling west wind sways the
Homer (The Iliad)
grief is the reminder of the depth of our love. Without love, there is no grief. So when we feel our grief, uncomfortable and aching as it may be, it is actually a reminder of the beauty of that love, now lost. I’ll never forget calling Gordon while I was traveling, and hearing him say that he was out to dinner by himself after the loss of a dear friend “so he could feel his grief.” He knew that in the blinking and buzzing world of our lives, it is so easy to delete the past and move on to the next moment. To linger in the longing, the loss, the yearning is a way of feeling the rich and embroidered texture of life, the torn cloth of our world that is endlessly being ripped and rewoven.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World)
Last month, on a very windy day, I was returning from a lecture I had given to a group in Fort Washington. I was beginning to feel unwell. I was feeling increasing spasms in my legs and back and became anxious as I anticipated a difficult ride back to my office. Making matters worse, I knew I had to travel two of the most treacherous high-speed roads near Philadelphia – the four-lane Schuylkill Expressway and the six-lane Blue Route. You’ve been in my van, so you know how it’s been outfitted with everything I need to drive. But you probably don’t realize that I often drive more slowly than other people. That’s because I have difficulty with body control. I’m especially careful on windy days when the van can be buffeted by sudden gusts. And if I’m having problems with spasms or high blood pressure, I stay way over in the right hand lane and drive well below the speed limit. When I’m driving slowly, people behind me tend to get impatient. They speed up to my car, blow their horns, drive by, stare at me angrily, and show me how long their fingers can get. (I don't understand why some people are so proud of the length of their fingers, but there are many things I don't understand.) Those angry drivers add stress to what already is a stressful experience of driving. On this particular day, I was driving by myself. At first, I drove slowly along back roads. Whenever someone approached, I pulled over and let them pass. But as I neared the Blue Route, I became more frightened. I knew I would be hearing a lot of horns and seeing a lot of those long fingers. And then I did something I had never done in the twenty-four years that I have been driving my van. I decided to put on my flashers. I drove the Blue Route and the Schuylkyll Expressway at 35 miles per hour. Now…Guess what happened? Nothing! No horns and no fingers. But why? When I put on my flashers, I was saying to the other drivers, “I have a problem here – I am vulnerable and doing the best I can.” And everyone understood. Several times, in my rearview mirror I saw drivers who wanted to pass. They couldn’t get around me because of the stream of passing traffic. But instead of honking or tailgating, they waited for the other cars to pass, knowing the driver in front of them was in some way weak. Sam, there is something about vulnerability that elicits compassion. It is in our hard wiring. I see it every day when people help me by holding doors, pouring cream in my coffee, or assist me when I put on my coat. Sometimes I feel sad because from my wheelchair perspective, I see the best in people. But those who appear strong and invulnerably typically are not exposed to the kindness I see daily. Sometimes situations call for us to act strong and brave even when we don't feel that way. But those are a few and far between. More often, there is a better pay-off if you don't pretend you feel strong when you feel weak, or pretend that you are brave when you’re scared. I really believe the world might be a safer place if everyone who felt vulnerable wore flashers that said, “I have a problem and I’m doing the best I can. Please be patient!
Daniel Gottlieb (Letters to Sam: A Grandfather's Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life)
On the one hand, the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European Enlightenment (that’s a metaphor, by the way) correctly “enlightened” us on the necessity of observation and experimentation in the physical sciences and the value of reason and debate, proof and repetition in science and technology. In that process, the dead hand of inquisitional power and the cold gaze of ecclesiastical control were removed from spheres about which they knew too little and claimed too much. That was a magnificent achievement and must always be appreciated as such. On the other hand, the Enlightenment also dramatically “endarkened” us on metaphor and symbol, myth and parable, especially in religion and theology. We judge, for example, that the ancients took their religious stories literally, but that we are now sophisticated enough to recognize their delusions. What, however, if those ancients intended and accepted their stories as metaphors or parables, and we are the mistaken ones? What if those pre-Enlightenment minds were quite capable of hearing a metaphor, grasping its meaning immediately and its content correctly, and never worrying about the question: Is this literal or metaphorical? Or, better, what if they knew how to take their foundational metaphors and stories programmatically, functionally, and seriously without asking too closely about literal and metaphorical distinctions? We have, in other words, great post-Enlightenment gain, but also great post-Enlightenment loss.
John Dominic Crossan (The Greatest Prayer: A Revolutionary Manifesto and Hymn of Hope)
(From Danielle Raver's short story THE ENCHANTRESS) Thick chains attached to the wall hold a metal collar and belt, restraining most of the tiger's movements. Open, bloody slashes cover his face and back, but he shows no loss of strength as he pulls on the chains and tries to rip the flesh of the surrounding humans with his deadly claws. Out of his reach, I kneel down before him, and his lightning-blue eyes cross my space for a moment. “Get her out of there!” I hear from behind me. “Numnerai,” I speak urgently to the tiger. “They will kill you!” He growls and gnashes his teeth, but I sense he is responding to me. “Great white tiger, your duty is to protect the prince. But how can you do that if they sink the end of a spear into your heart?” He looks at me for a longer moment. The fighters respond to this by growing still. In their desperation, they are overlooking my foolishness for a chance to save their fellows' lives. I crouch on my feet and begin to nudge closer to him. The tiger growls a warning, but does not slash out at me. “Think of the prince, protector of the palace. Right now he prays for you to live.
D.M. Raver (The Story Tellers' Anthology)
Do not fear the ghosts in this house; they are the least of your worries. Personally I find the noises they make reassuring. The creaks and footsteps in the night, their little tricks of hiding things, or moving them, I find endearing, not upsettling. It makes the place feel so much more like a home. Inhabited. Apart from ghosts nothing lives here for long. No cats no mice, no flies, no dreams, no bats. Two days ago I saw a butterfly, a monarch I believe, which danced from room to room and perched on walls and waited near to me. There are no flowers in this empty place, and, scared the butterfly would starve, I forced a window wide, cupped my two hands around her fluttering self, feeling her wings kiss my palms so gentle, and put her out, and watched her fly away. I've little patience with the seasons here, but your arrival eased this winter's chill. Please, wander round. Explore it all you wish. I've broken with tradition on some points. If there is one locked room here, you'll never know. You'll not find in the cellar's fireplace old bones or hair. You'll find no blood. Regard: just tools, a washing-machine, a drier, a water-heater, and a chain of keys. Nothing that can alarm you. Nothing dark. I may be grim, perhaps, but only just as grim as any man who suffered such affairs. Misfortune, carelessness or pain, what matters is the loss. You'll see the heartbreak linger in my eyes, and dream of making me forget what came before you walked into the hallway of this house. Bringing a little summer in your glance, and with your smile. While you are here, of course, you will hear the ghosts, always a room away, and you may wake beside me in the night, knowing that there's a space without a door, knowing that there's a place that's locked but isn't there. Hearing them scuffle, echo, thump and pound. If you are wise you'll run into the night, fluttering away into the cold, wearing perhaps the laciest of shifts. The lane's hard flints will cut your feet all bloody as you run, so, if I wished, I could just follow you, tasting the blood and oceans of your tears. I'll wait instead, here in my private place, and soon I'll put a candle in the window, love, to light your way back home. The world flutters like insects. I think this is how I shall remember you, my head between the white swell of your breasts, listening to the chambers of your heart.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
Every action is a losing, a letting go, a passing away from oneself of some bit of one’s own reality into the existence of others and of the world. In Jesus Christ, this character of action is not resisted, by trying to use our action to assert ourselves, extend ourselves, to impose our will and being upon situations. In Jesus Christ, this self-expending character of action is joyfully affirmed. I receive myself constantly from God’s Parenting love. But so far as some aspects of myself are at my disposal, these I receive to give away. Those who would live as Jesus did—who would act and purpose themselves as Jesus did—mean to love, i.e., they mean to expend themselves for others unto death. Their being is meant to pass away from them to others, and they make that meaning the conscious direction of their existence. Too often the love which is proclaimed in the churches suppresses this element of loss and need and death in activity. As a Christian, I often speak of love as helping others, but I ignore what this does to the person who loves. I ignore the fact that love is self-expenditure, a real expending and losing and deterioration of the self. I speak of love as if the person loving had no problems, no needs, no limits. In other words, I speak of love as if the affluent dream were true. This kind of proclamation is heard everywhere. We hear it said: 'Since you have no unanswered needs, why don’t you go out and help those other people who are in need?' But we never hear people go on and add: 'If you do this, you too will be driven into need.' And by not stating this conclusion, people give the childish impression that Christian love is some kind of cornucopia, where we can reach to everybody’s needs and problems and still have everything we need for ourselves. Believe me, there are grown-up persons who speak this kind of nonsense. And when people try to live out this illusory love, they become terrified when the self-expending begins to take its toll. Terror of relationship is [that] we eat each other. But note this very carefully: like Jesus, we too can only live to give our received selves away freely because we know our being is not thereby ended, but still and always lies in the Parenting of our God.... Those who love in the name of Jesus Christ... serve the needs of others willingly, even to the point of being exposed in their own neediness.... They do not cope with their own needs. They do not anguish over how their own needs may be met by the twists and turns of their circumstances, by the whims of their society, or by the strategies of their own egos. At the center of their life—the very innermost center—they are grateful to God, because... they do not fear neediness. That is what frees them to serve the needy, to companion the needy, to become and be one of the needy.
Arthur C. McGill (Dying Unto Life)
The Parable of the Cow”: Two cows were discussing the latest nutritional research, which had been done on lions. One cow says to the other, “Did you hear that we’ve been wrong these last 200 years? The latest research shows that eating grass is bad for you and eating meat is good.” So the two cows began eating meat. Shortly afterward, they got sick and they died. One year later, two lions were discussing the latest nutritional research, which was done on cows. One lion said to the other that the latest research showed that eating meat kills you and eating grass is good. So, the two lions started eating grass, and they died. What’s the moral of the story? We are not mice. We are not rats. We are not chimpanzees or spider monkeys. We are human beings, and therefore we should consider only human studies.
Jason Fung (The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss)
For my part, I’d come for the textbook and was glad to have it. Betta’s tortellini are now in my head and my hands. I follow her formula for the dough—an egg for every etto of flour, sneaking in an extra yolk if the mix doesn’t look wet enough. I’ve learned to roll out a sheet until I see the grain of the wood underneath. I let it dry if I’m making tagliatelle; I keep it damp if I’m making tortellini. I make a small batch, roll out a sheet, then another, the rhythm of pasta, each movement like the last one. My mind empties. I think only of the task. Is the dough too sticky? Will it tear? Does the sheet, held between my fingers, feel right? But often I wonder what Betta would think, and, like that, I’m back in that valley with its broken-combed mountain tops and the wolves at night and the ever-present feeling that the world is so much bigger than you, and my mind becomes a jumble of associations, of aunts and a round table and laughter you can’t hear anymore, and I am overcome by a feeling of loss. It is, I concluded, a side effect of this kind of food, one that’s handed down from one generation to another, often in conditions of adversity, that you end up thinking of the dead, that the very stuff that sustains you tastes somehow of mortality.
Bill Buford
These metaphysic rights entering into common life, like rays of light which pierce into a dense medium, are, by the laws of nature, refracted from their straight line. Indeed in the gross and complicated mass of human passions and concerns, the primitive rights of men undergo such a variety of refractions and reflections, that it becomes absurd to talk of them as if they continued in the simplicity of their original direction. The nature of man is intricate; the objects of society are of the greatest possible complexity: and therefore no simple disposition or direction of power can be suitable to man’s nature, or to the quality of his affairs. When I hear the simplicity of contrivance aimed at and boasted of in any new political constitutions, I am at no loss to decide that the artificers are grossly ignorant of their trade, or totally negligent of their duty.
Edmund Burke
The Convergence of the Twain Thomas Hardy, 1840 - 1928 (Lines on the loss of the “Titanic”) I In a solitude of the sea Deep from human vanity, And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she. II Steel chambers, late the pyres Of her salamandrine fires, Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres. III Over the mirrors meant To glass the opulent The sea-worm crawls—grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent. IV Jewels in joy designed To ravish the sensuous mind Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind. V Dim moon-eyed fishes near Gaze at the gilded gear And query: “What does this vaingloriousness down here?”. . . VI Well: while was fashioning This creature of cleaving wing, The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything VII Prepared a sinister mate For her—so gaily great— A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate. VIII And as the smart ship grew In stature, grace, and hue In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too. IX Alien they seemed to be: No mortal eye could see The intimate welding of their later history. X Or sign that they were bent By paths coincident On being anon twin halves of one August event, XI Till the Spinner of the Years Said “Now!” And each one hears, And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.
Thomas Hardy
Bradford paused and his expression shadowed. He pulled her back and held her tight. Whispered, “Don’t say it, okay? I know what’s coming and I don’t want to hear it. Not tonight. Tomorrow maybe, but not tonight.” He wasn’t talking about Kate Breeden. They both knew that Munroe could only bear so much pain and loss before coming completely undone. She needed time away, time to heal, and she could only do that by returning to who she was: the lone operative, shut down and shut off. Munroe set the glass on an end table, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. She truly loved him; always would. She smiled and fought back the sadness, glad in a way that she was spared from having to say good-bye, from uttering the words she never wanted to speak—although, in truth, there would never really be a good-bye, because if this was where home was, then like a homing pigeon she’d return, and Bradford had to know it, just as he also knew her reasons for leaving.
Taylor Stevens
The Gypsy’S Song* Come, cross my hand! My art surpasses All that did ever Mortal know; Come, Maidens, come! My magic glasses* Your future Husband’s form can show: For ’tis to me the power is given Unclosed the book of Fate to see; To read the fixed resolves of heaven, And dive into futurity. I guide the pale Moon’s silver waggon; The winds in magic bonds I hold; I charm to sleep the crimson Dragon, Who loves to watch o’er buried gold: Fenced round with spells, unhurt I venture Their sabbath strange where Witches keep; Fearless the Sorcerer’s circle enter, And woundless tread on snakes asleep. Lo! Here are charms of mighty power! This makes secure an Husband’s truth; And this composed at midnight hour Will force to love the coldest Youth: If any Maid too much has granted, Her loss this Philtre* will repair; This blooms a cheek where red is wanted, And this will make a brown girl fair! Then silent hear, while I discover What I in Fortune’s mirror view; And each, when many a year is over, Shall own the Gypsy’s sayings true.
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
People with hearing loss are hard to live with. For one thing, they’re always telling you how to talk to them. Here are some tips. • Look at them when you speak—almost all hearing-impaired people read lips. Don’t lean into their ear when you talk—they need to see your lips. • Speak in a normal voice and articulate as clearly as possible. Shouting won’t help. Sylvia, the character in Nina Raine’s play Tribes who is going deaf, describes the efforts of the well-intentioned but badly informed: “People yelling in your ear however much you explain, so you literally have to grab their face and stick it in front of you.” • If the hearing-impaired person says “What?” or “Sorry?” don’t simply repeat what you’ve just said. Rephrase it. • If they don’t hear what you’ve said after you’ve repeated it two or three times, don’t say, “Never mind, it doesn’t matter.” To the person who can’t hear it, everything matters. • If you’re in a room with a bright window or bright lights, allow the hearing-impaired person to sit with their back to the light (for lipreading). • Most hearing-impaired people will have a very hard time distinguishing speech over a noisy air conditioner, a humming fish tank, a fan, or anything that whirs or murmurs or rumbles. Don’t try to talk to them when the TV is on, and turn off the background music when they come to visit. • Don’t talk to a hearing-impaired person unless you have their full attention. A hearing-impaired person can’t cook and hear at the same time, no matter how collegial it may seem to join her in the kitchen. • If you’re part of a small group, speak one at a time. At a dinner party or book group, where there may be eight or ten people present, try to have one general conversation, instead of several overlapping small ones. • If you’re at an event—a performance or a church service or a big meeting—give the hearing-impaired person a few moments after the event is over to readjust their hearing—either mentally or manually (changing the program on a hearing aid, for instance). • Never lean into a hearing-impaired person’s ear and whisper in the middle of a performance. They can’t hear you!
Katherine Bouton (Shouting Won't Help: Why I--and 50 Million Other Americans--Can't Hear You)
I slide to the floor. I feel something warm on my neck, and under my cheek. Red. Blood is a strange color. Dark. From the corner of my eye, I see David slumped over in his chair. And my mother walking out from behind him. She is dressed in the same clothes she wore the last time I saw her, Abnegation gray, stained with her blood, with bare arms to show her tattoo. There are still bullet holes in her shirt; through them I can see her wounded skin, red but no longer bleeding, like she’s frozen in time. Her dull blond hair is tied back in a knot, but a few loose strands frame her face in gold. I know she can’t be alive, but I don’t know if I’m seeing her now because I’m delirious from the blood loss of if the death serum has addled my thoughts or if she is here in some other way. She kneels next to me and touches a cool hand to my cheek. “Hello, Beatrice,” she says, and she smiles. “Am I done yet?” I say, and I’m not sure if I actually say it or if I just think it and she hears it. “Yes,” she says, her eyes bright with tears. “My dear child, you’ve done so well.” “What about the others?” I choke on a sob as the image of Tobias comes into my mind, of how dark and how still his eyes were, how strong and warm his hand was, when we first stood face-to-face. “Tobias, Caleb, my friends?” “They’ll care for each other,” she says. “That’s what people do.” I smile and close my eyes. I feel a thread tugging me again, but this time I know that it isn’t some sinister force dragging me toward death. This time I know it’s my mother’s hand, drawing me into her arms. And I go gladly into her embrace. Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here? I want to be. I can. I believe it.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
life is a world you have to live by… it has its own rules you go by… it gives you joy and struggles… i see a mountain… my goal is not to reach the peak… but to reach the foot of the mountain… you may ask why the foot and not the peak… well come dear one sit down… and i'll tell you the meaning… A butterfly so delicate to touch… so graceful that you are in awe… but what you don't understand is they are like humans… they can't see how beautiful their wings are… but everything else can... we can't see our face but everyone else can… An owl so wise to see… so kind to hear… who it calls… the who is you… the who is one you meet… the who is a friend… A bee so humble… so hard working… and yet still has a whole lot of work to do… we can sting like a bee… for standing up what is right… even though it can be wrong… there is only one path… and you can never go back… all you have to do is to keep going… that path is the journey life awaits… but you have to follow by its rules… and here are the three simple rules… one... you must accept what life gives you… and also what it takes from you… two… never think too much… cause we all don't get the answers to everything… three… is to just deal with it… you create what life gives you, you don't run it… look at my feet… they are worn from all the rocks i had to walk on… but it has dirt that nourished life all the years… look at my hands… yes they are small but look closely… they are torn from climbing… life can try to put a blockage in your path… but all you can do is to climb that blockage… and say is that all… look in my eyes… they seen so many things… things i loss and gained… full of wonder… but if you look closer… you can see a fire burning so bright… i am determined to see beyond my journey… i am being created… creating my life in my own way… and we all have goals… but we all want to achieve a broad goal… that is the peak… but the main goal is to finish your path… the path life put you in… the path that leads to.... nothing for right now cause we haven't made it yet… but it said to be true… the foot of the mountain is a new beginning… we can't stand without a foot… so the question is… how are you going to stand at the peak to oversee the view when you didn't care so much about the foot?
Chelsea Roberts
When things are serious and either Amy Eleni or I need to beat our personal hysteric, the informal code is to seize your head and twist coils of your hair around your fingers and groan, "I'm not mad! I'm not mad! I don't want to die!" And if you have a friend who knows, then the friend grabs her head too and replies, "There's someone inside of me, and she says I must die!" That way it is stupid, and funny, and serious. Our hysteric is the revelation that we refuse to be consoled for all this noise, for all this noise and for the attacks on our softnesses, the loss of sensitivity to my scalp with every batch of box braids. Sometimes we cannot see or hear or breathe because of our fright that this is all our bodies will know. We're scared by the happy, hollow disciple that lines our brains and stomachs if we manage to stop after one biscuit. We need some kind of answer. We need to know what that biscuit-tin discipline is, where it comes from. We need to know whether it's a sign that our bones are turning against the rest of us, whether anyone will help us if our bones win out, or whether the people who should help us will say "You look wonderful!" instead.
Helen Oyeyemi
Imagine the problem is not physical. Imagine the problem has never been physical, that it is not biodiversity, it is not the ozone layer, it is not the greenhouse effect, the whales, the old-growth forest, the loss of jobs, the crack in the ghetto, the abortions, the tongue in the mouth, the diseases stalking everywhere as love goes on unconcerned. Imagine the problem is not some syndrome of our society that can be solved by commissions or laws or a redistribution of what we call wealth. Imagine that it goes deeper, right to the core of what we call our civilization and that no one outside of ourselves can effect real change, that our civilization, our governments are sick and that we are mentally ill and spiritually dead and that all our issues and crises are symptoms of this deeper sickness. Imagine the problem is not physical and no amount of driving, no amount of road will deal with the problem. Imagine that the problem is not that we are powerless or that we are victims but that we have lost the fire and belief and courage to act. We hear whispers of the future but we slap our hands against our ears, we catch glimpses but turn our faces swiftly aside.
Charles Bowden (Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America)
but I have had some delightful thoughts of late from just hearing the title of a book, God’s Method with the Maladies of the Soul. It gives one such a conception of the seeming ills of life: to think of Him as our Physician, the ills all remedies, the deprivations only a wholesome regimen, the losses all gains. Why, as I study this individual case and that, see how patiently and persistently He tries now this remedy now that, and how infallibly He cures the souls that submit to His remedies, I love Him so! I love Him so! And I am so astonished that we are restive under His unerring hand! Think how He dealt with me. My soul was sick unto death, sick with worldliness and self-pleasing folly. There was only one way of making me listen to reason and that was just the way He took. He snatched me right out of the world and shut me up in one room, crippled, helpless, and alone, and set me to thinking, thinking, thinking till I saw the emptiness and shallowness of all in which I had hitherto been involved. And then He sent you and your mother to show me the reality of life and to reveal to me my invisible, unknown Physician. Can I love Him with half my heart? Can I be asking questions as to how much I am to pay toward the debt I owe Him?
Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (Stepping Heavenward)
I started thinking about how many contented, happy people there are in actual fact! What an oppressive force! Think about this life of ours: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, unbelievable poverty everywhere, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, deceit... Meanwhile all is quiet and peaceful in people's homes and outside on the street; out of the fifty thousand people who live in the town, there is not one single person prepared to shout out about it or kick up a fuss. We see the people who go to the market for their groceries, travelling about in the daytime, sleeping at night, the kind of people who spout nonsense, get married, grow old, and dutifully cart their dead off to the cemetery; but we do not see or hear those who are suffering, and all the terrible things in life happen somewhere offstage. Everything is quiet and peaceful, and the only protest is voiced by dumb statistics: so many people have gone mad, so many bottles of vodka have been drunk, so many children have died from malnutrition... And this arrangement is clearly necessary: it's obvious that the contented person only feels good because those who are unhappy bear their burden in silence; without that silence happiness would be inconceivable. It's a collective hypnosis. There ought to be someone with a little hammer outside the door of every contented, happy person, constantly tapping away to remind him that there are unhappy people in the world, and that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show its claws; misfortune will strike - illness, poverty, loss - and no one will be there to see or hear it, just as they now cannot see or hear others. But there is no person with a little hammer; happy people are wrapped up in their own lives, and the minor problems of life affect them only slightly, like aspen leaves in a breeze, and everything is just fine.
Anton Chekhov (About Love and Other Stories)
Saturday evening, on a quiet lazy afternoon, I went to watch a bullfight in Las Ventas, one of Madrid's most famous bullrings. I went there out of curiosity. I had long been haunted by the image of the matador with its custom made torero suit, embroidered with golden threads, looking spectacular in his "suit of light" or traje de luces as they call it in Spain. I was curious to see the dance of death unfold in front of me, to test my humanity in the midst of blood and gold, and to see in which state my soul will come out of the arena, whether it will be shaken and stirred, furious and angry, or a little bit aware of the life embedded in every death. Being an avid fan of Hemingway, and a proponent of his famous sentence "About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after,” I went there willingly to test myself. I had heard atrocities about bullfighting yet I had this immense desire to be part of what I partially had an inclination to call a bloody piece of cultural experience. As I sat there, in front of the empty arena, I felt a grandiose feeling of belonging to something bigger than anything I experienced during my stay in Spain. Few minutes and I'll be witnessing a painting being carefully drawn in front of me, few minutes and I will be part of an art form deeply entrenched in the Spanish cultural heritage: the art of defying death. But to sit there, and to watch the bull enter the arena… To watch one bull surrounded by a matador and his six assistants. To watch the matador confronting the bull with the capote, performing a series of passes, just before the picador on a horse stabs the bull's neck, weakening the neck muscles and leading to the animal's first loss of blood... Starting a game with only one side having decided fully to engage in while making sure all the odds will be in the favor of him being a predetermined winner. It was this moment precisely that made me feel part of something immoral. The unfair rules of the game. The indifferent bull being begged to react, being pushed to the edge of fury. The bull, tired and peaceful. The bull, being teased relentlessly. The bull being pushed to a game he isn't interested in. And the matador getting credits for an unfair game he set. As I left the arena, people looked at me with mocking eyes. Yes, I went to watch a bull fight and yes the play of colors is marvelous. The matador’s costume is breathtaking and to be sitting in an arena fills your lungs with the sands of time. But to see the amount of claps the spill of blood is getting was beyond what I can endure. To hear the amount of claps injustice brings is astonishing. You understand a lot about human nature, about the wars taking place every day, about poverty and starvation. You understand a lot about racial discrimination and abuse (verbal and physical), sex trafficking, and everything that stirs the wounds of this world wide open. You understand a lot about humans’ thirst for injustice and violence as a way to empower hidden insecurities. Replace the bull and replace the matador. And the arena will still be there. And you'll hear the claps. You've been hearing them ever since you opened your eyes.
Malak El Halabi
Tobias is standing in the hallway outside the dormitory. I am breathless, and I can feel my heartbeat even in my fingertips; I am overwhelmed, teeming with loss and wonder and anger and longing. “Tris,” Tobias says, his brow furrowed with concern. “Are you all right?” I shake my head, still struggling for air, and crush him against the wall with my body, my lips finding his. For a moment he tries to push me away, but then he must decide that he doesn’t care if I’m all right, doesn’t care if he’s all right, doesn’t care. We haven’t been alone together in days. Weeks. Months. His fingers slide into my hair, and I hold on to his arms to stay steady as we press together like two blades at a stalemate. He is stronger than anyone I know, and warmer than anyone else realizes; he is a secret that I have kept, and will keep, for the rest of my life. He leans down and kisses my throat, hard, and his hands smooth over me, securing themselves at my waist. I hook my fingers in his belt loops, my eyes closing. In that moment I know exactly what I want; I want to peel away all the layers of clothing between us, strip away everything that separates us, the past and the present and the future. I hear footsteps and laughter at the end of the hallway, and we break apart. Someone--probably Uriah--whistles, but I barely hear it over the pulsing in my ears. Tobias’s eyes meet mine, and it’s like the first time I really looked at him during my initiation, after my fear simulation; we stare too long, too intently. “Shut up,” I call out to Uriah, without looking away. Uriah and Christina walk into the dormitory, and Tobias and I follow them, like nothing happened.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
There are, after all, certain social duties that a priest has toward his parishioners, and if that priest is as I was--energetic and gregarious, with an aptitude for such occasions--these duties and occasions have a way of multiplying. There's a great attraction to this: he's doing what he likes to do, and he can tell himself that it's all for the honor and glory of God. He believes this, quite sincerely, and he finds ample support for such belief: on all sides he's assured that he is doing the much-needed job of "waking up the parish." Which is not a hard thing for a young priest to hear; he may even see himself as stampeding souls to their salvation. What he may not see is that he stands in some danger of losing himself in the strangely engrossing business of simply "being busy"; gradually he may find that he is rather uncomfortable whenever he is not "being busy." And, gradually too, he may find fewer and fewer moments in which he can absent himself from activity, in which he can be alone, can be silent, can be still--in which he can reflect and pray. And since these are precisely the moments that are necessary for all of us, in which spiritually we grow, in which, so to speak, we maintain and enrich our connection with God, then the loss of such moments is grave and perilous. Particularly so for a priest--particularly for a priest who suddenly finds that he can talk more easily to a parish committee than he can to God. Something within him will have atrophied from disuse; something precious, something vital. It will have gone almost without his knowing it, but one day, in a great crisis, say, he will reach for it--and it will not be there. And then...then he may find that the distance between the poles is not so great a distance after all....
Edwin O'Connor (The Edge of Sadness)
This was no coincidence. The best short stories and the most successful jokes have a lot in common. Each form relies on suggestion and economy. Characters have to be drawn in a few deft strokes. There's generally a setup, a reveal, a reversal, and a release. The structure is delicate. If one element fails, the edifice crumbles. In a novel you might get away with a loose line or two, a saggy paragraph, even a limp chapter. But in the joke and in the short story, the beginning and end are precisely anchored tent poles, and what lies between must pull so taut it twangs. I'm not sure if there is any pattern to these selections. I did not spend a lot of time with those that seemed afraid to tell stories, that handled plot as if it were a hair in the soup, unwelcome and embarrassing. I also tended not to revisit stories that seemed bleak without having earned it, where the emotional notes were false, or where the writing was tricked out or primped up with fashionable devices stressing form over content. I do know that the easiest and the first choices were the stories to which I had a physical response. I read Jennifer Egan's "Out of Body" clenched from head to toe by tension as her suicidal, drug-addled protagonist moves through the Manhattan night toward an unforgivable betrayal. I shed tears over two stories of childhood shadowed by unbearable memory: "The Hare's Mask," by Mark Slouka, with its piercing ending, and Claire Keegan's Irishinflected tale of neglect and rescue, "Foster." Elizabeth McCracken's "Property" also moved me, with its sudden perception shift along the wavering sightlines of loss and grief. Nathan Englander's "Free Fruit for Young Widows" opened with a gasp-inducing act of unexpected violence and evolved into an ethical Rubik's cube. A couple of stories made me laugh: Tom Bissell's "A Bridge Under Water," even as it foreshadows the dissolution of a marriage and probes what religion does for us, and to us; and Richard Powers's "To the Measures Fall," a deftly comic meditation on the uses of literature in the course of a life, and a lifetime. Some stories didn't call forth such a strong immediate response but had instead a lingering resonance. Of these, many dealt with love and its costs, leaving behind indelible images. In Megan Mayhew Bergman's "Housewifely Arts," a bereaved daughter drives miles to visit her dead mother's parrot because she yearns to hear the bird mimic her mother's voice. In Allegra Goodman's "La Vita Nuova," a jilted fiancée lets her art class paint all over her wedding dress. In Ehud Havazelet's spare and tender story, "Gurov in Manhattan," an ailing man and his aging dog must confront life's necessary losses. A complicated, only partly welcome romance blossoms between a Korean woman and her demented
Geraldine Brooks (The Best American Short Stories 2011)
From Sister by ROSAMUND LUPTON    The rain hammered down onto your coffin, pitter-patter; ‘Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, I hear raindrops’; I was five and singing it to you, just born. Your coffin reached the bottom of the monstrous hole. And a part of me went down into the muddy earth with you and lay down next to you and died with you. Then Mum stepped forwards and took a wooden spoon from her coat pocket. She loosened her fingers and it fell on top of your coffin. Your magic wand. And I threw the emails I sign ‘lol’. And the title of older sister. And the nickname Bee. Not grand or important to anyone else, I thought, this bond that we had. Small things. Tiny things. You knew that I didn’t make words out of my alphabetti spaghetti but I gave you my vowels so you could make more words out of yours. I knew that your favourite colour used to be purple but then became bright yellow; (‘Ochre’s the arty word, Bee’) and you knew mine was orange, until I discovered that taupe was more sophisticated and you teased me for that. You knew that my first whimsy china animal was a cat (you lent me 50p of your pocket money to buy it) and that I once took all my clothes out of my school trunk and hurled them around the room and that was the only time I had something close to a tantrum. I knew that when you were five you climbed into bed with me every night for a year. I threw everything we had together - the strong roots and stems and leaves and beautiful soft blossoms of sisterhood - into the earth with you. And I was left standing on the edge, so diminished by the loss, that I thought I could no longer be there. All I was allowed to keep for myself was missing you. Which is what? The tears that pricked the inside of my face, the emotion catching at the top of my throat, the cavity in my chest that was larger than I am. Was that all I had now? Nothing else from twenty-one years of loving you. Was the feeling that all is right with the world, my world, because you were its foundations, formed in childhood and with me grown into adulthood - was that to be replaced by nothing? The ghastliness of nothing. Because I was nobody’s sister now. I saw Dad had been given a handful of earth. But as he held out his hand above your coffin he couldn’t unprise his fingers. Instead, he put his hand into his pocket, letting the earth fall there and not onto you. He watched as Father Peter threw the first clod of earth instead and broke apart, splintering with the pain of it. I went to him and took his earth-stained hand in mine, the earth gritty between our soft palms. He looked at me with love. A selfish person can still love someone else, can’t they? Even when they’ve hurt them and let them down. I, of all people, should understand that. Mum was silent as they put earth over your coffin. An explosion in space makes no sound at all.
Rosamund Lupton
The man raised the violin under his chin, placed the bow across the strings, and closed his eyes. For a moment his lips moved, silently, as if in prayer. Then, with sure, steady movements, he began to play. The song was like nothing Abbey had heard anywhere else. The notes were clear, sweet and perfect, with a purity of tone that not one violin in ten thousand could produce. But the song was more than that. The song was pain, and loss, and sorrow, an anthem of unrelenting grief for which no words could be sufficient. In its strains Abbey heard the cry of the mother clutching her lifeless child; of the young woman whose husband never returned from war; of the father watching his son die of cancer; of the old man weeping at his wife's grave. It was the wordless cry of every man, woman and child who had ever shaken a fist at the uncaring universe, every stricken heart that had demanded an answer to the question, “Why?”, and was left unsatisfied. When the song finally, mercifully ended, not a dry eye remained in the darkened hall. The shades had moved in among the mortals, unseen by all but Abbey herself, and crowded close to the stage, heedless of all but the thing that called to them. Many of the mortals in the audience were sobbing openly. Those newcomers who still retained any sense of their surroundings were staring up at the man, their eyes wide with awe and a silent plea for understanding. The man gave it to them. “I am not the master of this instrument,” he said. “The lady is her own mistress. I am only the channel through which she speaks. What you have heard tonight — what you will continue to hear — is not a performance, but a séance. In my … unworthy hands … she will tell you her story: Sorrow, pain, loss, truth, and beauty. This is not the work of one man; it is the story of all men, of all people everywhere, throughout her long history. Which means, of course, that it is also your story, and mine.” He held up the violin once more. In the uncertain play of light and shadow, faces seemed to appear and vanish in the blood-red surface of the wood. “Her name is Threnody,” he said. “And she has come to make you free.
Chris Lester (Whispers in the Wood (Metamor City, #6))
History is storytelling,’” Yaw repeated. He walked down the aisles between the rows of seats, making sure to look each boy in the eye. Once he finished walking and stood in the back of the room, where the boys would have to crane their necks in order to see him, he asked, “Who would like to tell the story of how I got my scar?” The students began to squirm, their limbs growing limp and wobbly. They looked at each other, coughed, looked away. “Don’t be shy,” Yaw said, smiling now, nodding encouragingly. “Peter?” he asked. The boy who only seconds before had been so happy to speak began to plead with his eyes. The first day with a new class was always Yaw’s favorite. “Mr. Agyekum, sah?” Peter said. “What story have you heard? About my scar?” Yaw asked, smiling still, hoping, now to ease some of the child’s growing fear. Peter cleared his throat and looked at the ground. “They say you were born of fire,” he started. “That this is why you are so smart. Because you were lit by fire.” “Anyone else?” Timidly, a boy named Edem raised his hand. “They say your mother was fighting evil spirits from Asamando.” Then William: “I heard your father was so sad by the Asante loss that he cursed the gods, and the gods took vengeance.” Another, named Thomas: “I heard you did it to yourself, so that you would have something to talk about on the first day of class.” All the boys laughed, and Yaw had to stifle his own amusement. Word of his lesson had gotten around, he knew. The older boys told some of the younger ones what to expect from him. Still, he continued, making his way back to the front of the room to look at his students, the bright boys from the uncertain Gold Coast, learning the white book from a scarred man. “Whose story is correct?” Yaw asked them. They looked around at the boys who had spoken, as though trying to establish their allegiance by holding a gaze, casting a vote by sending a glance. Finally, once the murmuring subsided, Peter raised his hand. “Mr. Agyekum, we cannot know which story is correct.” He looked at the rest of the class, slowly understanding. “We cannot know which story is correct because we were not there.” Yaw nodded. He sat in his chair at the front of the room and looked at all the young men. “This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on. But now we come upon the problem of conflicting stories. Kojo Nyarko says that when the warriors came to his village their coats were red, but Kwame Adu says that they were blue. Whose story do we believe, then?” The boys were silent. They stared at him, waiting. “We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.
Yaa Gyasi (Homegoing)
In any case, we should expect that in due time we will be moved into our eternal destiny of creative activity with Jesus and his friends and associates in the “many mansions” of “his Father’s house.” Thus, we should not think of ourselves as destined to be celestial bureaucrats, involved eternally in celestial “administrivia.” That would be only slightly better than being caught in an everlasting church service. No, we should think of our destiny as being absorbed in a tremendously creative team effort, with unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast plane of activity, with ever more comprehensive cycles of productivity and enjoyment. This is the “eye hath not seen, neither ear heard” that lies before us in the prophetic vision (Isa. 64:4). This Is Shalom When Saint Augustine comes to the very end of his book The City of God, he attempts to address the question of “how the saints shall be employed when they are clothed in immortal and spiritual bodies.”15 At first he confesses that he is “at a loss to understand the nature of that employment.” But then he settles upon the word peace to describe it, and develops the idea of peace by reference to the vision of God—utilizing, as we too have done, the rich passage from 1 Corinthians 13. Thus he speaks of our “employment” then as being “the beatific vision.” The eternal blessedness of the city of God is presented as a “perpetual Sabbath.” In words so beautiful that everyone should know them by heart, he says, “There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end. For what other end do we propose to ourselves than to attain to the kingdom of which there is no end?” And yet, for all their beauty and goodness, these words do not seem to me to capture the blessed condition of the restoration of all things—of the kingdom come in its utter fullness. Repose, yes. But not as quiescence, passivity, eternal fixity. It is, instead, peace as wholeness, as fullness of function, as the restful but unending creativity involved in a cosmoswide, cooperative pursuit of a created order that continuously approaches but never reaches the limitless goodness and greatness of the triune personality of God, its source. This, surely, is the word of Jesus when he says, “Those who overcome will be welcomed to sit with me on my throne, as I too overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. Those capable of hearing should listen to what the Spirit is saying to my people” (Rev. 3:21
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
To understand how shame is influenced by culture, we need to think back to when we were children or young adults, and we first learned how important it is to be liked, to fit in, and to please others. The lessons were often taught by shame; sometimes overtly, other times covertly. Regardless of how they happened, we can all recall experiences of feeling rejected, diminished and ridiculed. Eventually, we learned to fear these feelings. We learned how to change our behaviors, thinking and feelings to avoid feeling shame. In the process, we changed who we were and, in many instances, who we are now. Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate. We are wired for connection. It’s in our biology. As infants, our need for connection is about survival. As we grow older, connection means thriving—emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are. Shame unravels our connection to others. In fact, I often refer to shame as the fear of disconnection—the fear of being perceived as flawed and unworthy of acceptance or belonging. Shame keeps us from telling our own stories and prevents us from listening to others tell their stories. We silence our voices and keep our secrets out of the fear of disconnection. When we hear others talk about their shame, we often blame them as a way to protect ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. Hearing someone talk about a shaming experience can sometimes be as painful as actually experiencing it for ourselves. Like courage, empathy and compassion are critical components of shame resilience. Practicing compassion allows us to hear shame. Empathy, the most powerful tool of compassion, is an emotional skill that allows us to respond to others in a meaningful, caring way. Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes—to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding. When we share a difficult experience with someone, and that person responds in an open, deeply connected way—that’s empathy. Developing empathy can enrich the relationships we have with our partners, colleagues, family members and children. In Chapter 2, I’ll discuss the concept of empathy in great detail. You’ll learn how it works, how we can learn to be empathic and why the opposite of experiencing shame is experiencing empathy. The prerequisite for empathy is compassion. We can only respond empathically if we are willing to hear someone’s pain. We sometimes think of compassion as a saintlike virtue. It’s not. In fact, compassion is possible for anyone who can accept the struggles that make us human—our fears, imperfections, losses and shame. We can only respond compassionately to someone telling her story if we have embraced our own story—shame and all. Compassion is not a virtue—it is a commitment.
Anonymous