Loved Ones Who Passed Away Quotes

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If you have to speculate if someone loves you and wants to be with you, chances are they don't. It's not that complicated. Love, in most cases, betrays the one feeling it. Don't waste moments waiting and wondering. Don't throw away your time dreaming of someone that doesn't want you. No one is that amazing, certainly not the one who would pass you up.
Donna Lynn Hope
I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Charlie Chaplin
Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul - but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them - but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us - we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.
Thomas Wolfe (You Can't Go Home Again (Perennial Library))
You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves. After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm. That’s what I believe. The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens. These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.
Robert McCammon (Boy's Life)
He went on for some time while I sat listening in silence because I knew he was right, and like two people who have loved each other however imperfectly, who have tried to make a life together, however imperfectly, who have lived side by side and watched the wrinkles slowly form at the corner of the other's eyes, and watched a little drop of gray, as if poured from a jug, drop into the other's skin and spread itself evenly, listening to the other's coughs and sneezes and little collected mumblings, like two people who'd had one idea together and slowly allowed that idea to be replaced with two separate, less hopeful, less ambitious ideas, we spoke deep into the night, and the next day, and the next night. For forty days and forty nights, I want to say, but the fact of the matter is it only took three. One of us had loved the other more perfectly, had watched the other more closely, and one of us listened and the other hadn't, and one of us held on to the ambition of the one idea far longer than was reasonable, whereas the other, passing a garbage can one night, had casually thrown it away.
Nicole Krauss
While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
I know that you and your girls have been told for years on end that you just don’t pass up any opportunities when a man walks your way—he could be The One. But I’m here to tell you that this philosophy is just plain dumb. Women are smart—you all can tell when your friends are lying, you know when your kids are up to no good, co-workers can’t get anything past you at the job. You’re quick to let each one of them know that you’re not stupid, that you see them coming a mile away, and you’re not going to let them play that game with you. But when it comes to your relationships with the opposite sex, all of that goes out the window; you relinquish your power and lose all control over the situation—cede it to any old man who looks at you twice. Just because he happened to look at you twice.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
When you have two people who love each other, are happy and gay and really good work is being done by one or both of them, people are drawn to them as surely as migrating birds are drawn at night to a powerful beacon. If the two people were as solidly constructed as the beacon there would be little damage except to the birds. Those who attract people by their happiness and their performance are usually inexperienced. They do not know how not to be overrun and how to go away. They do not always learn about the good, the attractive, the charming, the soon-beloved, the generous, the understanding rich who have no bad qualities and who give each day the quality of a festival and who, when they have passed and taken the nourishment they needed, leave everything deader than the roots of any grass Attila's horses' hooves have ever scoured.
Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast)
In words which can still bring tears to the eyes, St. Augustine describes the desolation into which the death of his friend Nebridius plunged him (Confessions IV, 10). Then he draws a moral. This is what comes, he says, of giving one’s heart to anything but God. All human beings pass away. Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose. If love is to be a blessing, not a misery, it must be for the only Beloved who will never pass away.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates. 'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. They've served their purpose. Nature is unsentimental. Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Earth Before Humans by ANN DRUYAN' 'CARL SAGAN (1992-05-03))
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." "I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. "The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.
Margery Williams Bianco (The Velveteen Rabbit)
Get control of yourself, Zahra! My name isn’t Zahra. I am Smoke-on-the-Wind, Curl-of-the-Tiger’s-Tail, Girl-Who-Gives-the-Stars-Away. He loves you! He is just a mortal. Just a boy, a moment in time that will soon pass. His name is Aladdin. I have known a thousand and one like him. I will know a thousand and one more. He is nothing. He is everything.
Jessica Khoury (The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish, #1))
She's locked up with a spinning wheel She can't recall what it was like to feel She says, "This room's gonna be my grave And there's no one who can save me," She sits down to her colored thread She knows lovers waking up in their beds She says, "How long can I live this way Is there someone I can pay to let me go 'Cause I'm half sick of shadows I want to see the sky Everyone else can watch as the sun goes down So why can't I And it's raining And the stars are falling from the sky And the wind And the wind I know it's cold I've been waiting For the day I will surely die And it's here And it's here for I've been told That I'll die before I'm old And the wind I know it's cold... She looks up to the mirrored glass She sees a horse and rider pass She says, "This man's gonna be my death 'Cause he's all I ever wanted in my life And I know he doesn't know my name And that all the girls are all the same to him But still I've got to get out of this place 'Cause I don't think I can face another night Where I'm half sick of shadows And I can't see the sky Everyone else can watch as the tide comes in So why can't I But there's willow trees And little breezes, waves, and walls, and flowers And there's moonlight every single night As I'm locked in these towers So I'll meet my death But with my last breath I'll sing to him I love And he'll see my face in another place," And with that the glass above Her cracked into a million bits And she cried out, "So the story fits But then I could have guessed it all along 'Cause now some drama queen is gonna write a song for me," She went down to her little boat And she broke the chains and began to float away And as the blood froze in her veins she said, "Well then that explains a thing or two 'Cause I know I'm the cursed one I know I'm meant to die Everyone else can watch as their dreams untie So why can't I
Emilie Autumn
This is what I've found about life, as I've gotten older: you start to lose people, Angela. It's not that there is ever a shortage of people - oh, heavens no. It is merely that - as the years pass - there comes to be a shortage of your people. The ones you loved. The ones who knew the people that you both loved. The ones who know your whole history. Those people start to be plucked away by death, and they are awfully hard to replace after they go.
Elizabeth Gilbert (City of Girls)
As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say, "The breath goes now," and some say, "No," So let us melt, and make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; 'Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. Moving of the earth brings harms and fears, Men reckon what it did and meant; But trepidation of the spheres, Though greater far, is innocent. Dull sublunary lovers' love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things which elemented it. But we, by a love so much refined That our selves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind, Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss. Our two souls therefore, which are one, Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion. Like gold to airy thinness beat. If they be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two: Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if the other do; And though it in the center sit, Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must, Like the other foot, obliquely run; Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end where I begun.
John Donne
I was dancing with an immortal august woman, who had black lilies in her hair, and her dreamy gesture seemed laden with a wisdom more profound than the darkness that is between star and star, and with a love like the love that breathed upon the waters; and as we danced on and on, the incense drifted over us and round us, covering us away as in the heart of the world, and ages seemed to pass, and tempests to awake and perish in the folds of our robes and in her heavy hair. Suddenly I remembered that her eyelids had never quivered, and that her lilies had not dropped a black petal, or shaken from their places, and understood with a great horror that I danced with one who was more or less than human, and who was drinking up my soul as an ox drinks up a wayside pool; and I fell, and darkness passed over me.
W.B. Yeats (Rosa Alchemica)
My dearest friend Abigail, These probably could be the last words I write to you and I may not live long enough to see your response but I truly have lived long enough to live forever in the hearts of my friends. I thought a lot about what I should write to you. I thought of giving you blessings and wishes for things of great value to happen to you in future; I thought of appreciating you for being the way you are; I thought to give sweet and lovely compliments for everything about you; I thought to write something in praise of your poems and prose; and I thought of extending my gratitude for being one of the very few sincerest friends I have ever had. But that is what all friends do and they only qualify to remain as a part of the bunch of our loosely connected memories and that's not what I can choose to be, I cannot choose to be lost somewhere in your memories. So I thought of something through which I hope you will remember me for a very long time. I decided to share some part of my story, of what led me here, the part we both have had in common. A past, which changed us and our perception of the world. A past, which shaped our future into an unknown yet exciting opportunity to revisit the lost thoughts and to break free from the libido of our lost dreams. A past, which questioned our whole past. My dear, when the moment of my past struck me, in its highest demonised form, I felt dead, like a dead-man walking in flesh without a soul, who had no reason to live any more. I no longer saw any meaning of life but then I saw no reason to die as well. I travelled to far away lands, running away from friends, family and everyone else and I confined myself to my thoughts, to my feelings and to myself. Hours, days, weeks and months passed and I waited for a moment of magic to happen, a turn of destiny, but nothing happened, nothing ever happens. I waited and I counted each moment of it, thinking about every moment of my life, the good and the bad ones. I then saw how powerful yet weak, bright yet dark, beautiful yet ugly, joyous yet grievous; is a one single moment. One moment makes the difference. Just a one moment. Such appears to be the extreme and undisputed power of a single moment. We live in a world of appearance, Abigail, where the reality lies beyond the appearances, and this is also only what appears to be such powerful when in actuality it is not. I realised that the power of the moment is not in the moment itself. The power, actually, is in us. Every single one of us has the power to make and shape our own moments. It is us who by feeling joyful, celebrate for a moment of success; and it is also us who by feeling saddened, cry and mourn over our losses. I, with all my heart and mind, now embrace this power which lies within us. I wish life offers you more time to make use of this power. Remember, we are our own griefs, my dear, we are our own happinesses and we are our own remedies. Take care! Love, Francis. Title: Letter to Abigail Scene: "Death-bed" Chapter: The Road To Awe
Huseyn Raza
Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain, You, at least, hail me and speak to me While a thousand others ignore my face. You offer me an hour of love, And your fees are not as costly as most. You are the madonna of the lonely, The first-born daughter in a world of pain. You do not turn fat men aside, Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones, You are the meadow where desperate men Can find a moment's comfort. Men have paid more to their wives To know a bit of peace And could not walk away without the guilt That masquerades as love. You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort them And bid them return. Your body is more Christian than the Bishop's Whose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood. Your passion is as genuine as most, Your caring as real! But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain, You, whose virginity each man may make his own Without paying ought but your fee, You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions, You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger, Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive, You make more sense than stock markets and football games Where sad men beg for virility. You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less? At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive, At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow. The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned, Warm and loving. You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love; Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous. You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children, And your fee is not as costly as most. Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness, When liquor has dulled his sense enough To know his need of you. He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria, And leave without apologies. He will come in loneliness--and perhaps Leave in loneliness as well. But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions, More than priests who offer absolution And sweet-smelling ritual, More than friends who anticipate his death Or challenge his life, And your fee is not as costly as most. You admit that your love is for a fee, Few women can be as honest. There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyone Except their hungry ego, Monuments to mothers who turned their children Into starving, anxious bodies, Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners. I would erect a monument for you-- who give more than most-- And for a meager fee. Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all, You come so close to love But it eludes you While proper women march to church and fantasize In the silence of their rooms, While lonely women take their husbands' arms To hold them on life's surface, While chattering women fill their closets with clothes and Their lips with lies, You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most-- And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain. You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid, But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you, The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you. You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--and Wander on the endless, aching pavements of pain. You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war, More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred, More than the tall buildings and sprawling factories Where men wear chains. You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass, And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.
James Kavanaugh (There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves)
One of my favorite definitions of enlightenment comes from a Jesuit priest named Anthony de Mello, who passed away some years ago. Someone asked him to define his experience of enlightenment. He said, “Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.” I love that, because it defines enlightenment not just as a realization, but as an activity. Enlightenment is when everything within us is in cooperation with the flow of life itself, with the inevitable.
Adyashanti (The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment)
It's nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more a leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people, for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on. The pears they let hang on the limb because if they plucked them, they would be gone from there and who else would see that ripeness if they took it away for themselves? How could anybody passing by see them and imagine for themselves what the flavour would be like? Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together nevermind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher's palm asking for witnesses in His name's sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love. They are under the covers because they don't have to look at themselves anymore; there is no stud's eye, no chippie glance to undo them. They are inward toward the other, bound and joined by carnival dolls and the steamers that sailed from ports they never saw. That is what is beneath their undercover whispers.
Toni Morrison (Jazz (Beloved Trilogy, #2))
Book of Mormon 4 Neiphi. 1: 4, 15-20 4 And it came to pass that the thirty and seventh year passed away also, and there still continued to be peace in the land. • • • 15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. 16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor horedoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. 17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. 18 And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an *hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved, when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal, would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness? No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved are softened away in pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness - who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! The grave! It buries every error - covers every defect - extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections.
Washington Irving
It was the shadow of Some one who had gone by long before: of Some one who had gone on far away quite out of reach, never, never to come back. It was bright to look at; and when the tiny woman showed it to the Princess, she was proud of it with all her heart, as a great, great, treasure. When the Princess had considered it a little while, she said to the tiny woman, And you keep watch over this, every day? And she cast down her eyes, and whispered, Yes. Then the Princess said, Remind me why. To which the other replied, that no one so good and so kind had ever passed that way, and that was why in the beginning. She said, too, that nobody missed it, that nobody was the worse for it, that Some one had gone on to those who were expecting him-- 'Some one was a man then?' interposed Maggy. Little Dorrit timidly said yes, she believed so; and resumed: '-- Had gone on to those who were expecting him, and that this remembrance was stolen or kept back from nobody. The Princess made answer, Ah! But when the cottager died it would be discovered there. The tiny woman told her No; when that time came, it would sink quietly into her own grave, and would never be found.
Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit)
Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years. “I think you’re crazy,” was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar’s discovery. “Who wants to know?” Dunbar answered. “I mean it,” Clevinger insisted. “Who cares?” Dunbar answered. “I really do. I’ll even go as far as to concede that life seems longer i—“ “—is longer i—“ “—is longer—IS longer? All right, is longer if it’s filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b—“ “Guess how fast?” Dunbar said suddenly. “Huh?” “They go,” Dunbar explained. “Who?” “Years.” “Years?” “Years,” said Dunbar. “Years, years, years.” “Do you know how long a year takes when it’s going away?” Dunbar asked Clevinger. “This long.” He snapped his fingers. “A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you’re an old man.” “Old?” asked Clevinger with surprise. “What are you talking about?” “Old.” “I’m not old.” “You’re inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?” Dunbar was almost angry when he finished. “Well, maybe it is true,” Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?” “I do,” Dunbar told him. “Why?” Clevinger asked. “What else is there?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
The Friendship Bond There is that one friend whom you no longer speak to, who is no longer part of your life. If you saw them across the street, you would turn your head away and they would do the same. But if they ever called you in the middle of the night, you would be there for them, sure as the sun. And you know that if you were the one to make that call, no matter how much time has passed or how distant you’ve become, they would be there for you.
Lang Leav (Love Looks Pretty on You)
Fear of death is fear of surrender to Infinity. Learn to surrender, to exist at Infinity while alive, and fear of death dissolves. Fear of death is fear of the Unknown. Realize the Wonder, the Eternal Unknowability of the Totality of Existence, and fear of death is transcended. If happiness or freedom depends on the Answer to the Question, then there can be no happiness or freedom. The Question cannot be satisfactorily or finally Answered. For one who abides at Infinity, happy and free, at ease with his Ultimate Ignorance, the Question and the Answer are equally unnecessary. What began will come to an end. What is Wonderful is not threatened. The Process of the Totality of Existence is Transcendental and Eternal. Only a fraction of the Whole can pass away in any moment, since only a fraction of the Whole appears in any moment. Therefore, the Heart Itself is always already Full of Wonder and Love. "I" is the body-mind, the fraction of the Whole that is now appearing and will soon disappear. "I" must be surrendered to the Heart, to the Whole, which is Infinity, Wonder, and Love.
Adi Da Samraj (The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace: The Transcendental Principle of Life Applied to Diet and the Regenerative Discipline of True Health)
Because I liked you better than it suits a girl to say, It irked you and I promised to throw the thought away To put the world between us, we parted stiff and dry 'Goodbye' and you: 'Forget me'. 'No fear I will' said I. Now here where clover whitens The dead man's knoll you pass And now tall flower to meet you Starts in the trefoiled grass Halt by the headstone naming the heart no longer stirred And say the girl that loved you Was one who kept her word.
Regina Doman (Waking Rose (A Fairy Tale Retold #3))
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Nikolai Gogol (The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol)
There were people who escaped Hiroshima and rushed to Nagasaki to see that their loved ones were safe. Arriving just in time to be incinerated. He went there after the war with a team of scientists. My father. He said that everything was rusty. Everything looked covered with rust. There were burnt-out shells of trolleycars standing in the streets. The glass melted out of the sashes and pooled on the bricks. Seated on the blackened springs the charred skeletons of the passengers with their clothes and hair gone and their bones hung with blackened strips of flesh. Their eyes boiled from their sockets. Lips and noses burned away. Sitting in their seats laughing. The living walked about but there was no place to go. They waded by the thousands into the river and died there. They were like insects in that no one direction was preferable to another. Burning people crawled among the corpses like some horror in a vast crematorium. They simply thought that the world had ended. It hardly even occurred to them that it had anything to do with the war. They carried their skin bundled up in their arms before them like wash that it not drag in the rubble and ash and they passed one another mindlessly on their mindless journeyings over the smoking afterground, the sighted no better served than the blind. The news of all this did not even leave the city for two days. Those who survived would often remember these horrors with a certain aesthetic to them. In that mycoidal phantom blooming in the dawn like an evil lotus and in the melting of solids not heretofore known to do so stood a truth that would silence poetry a thousand years. Like an immense bladder, they would say. Like some sea thing. Wobbling slightly on the near horizon. Then the unspeakable noise. They saw birds in the dawn sky ignite and explode soundlessly and fall in long arcs earthward like burning party favors. p.116
Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
I'd suffered many losses in recent years after my father mother uncle aunt and cousin had all passed away. In her final years my mother often lamented that there was no one alive who had known her as a girl and I was starting to understand how spooked she'd felt. I wasn't sure I could take any more abandonments. One succumbs so easily to mind spasms, worry spasms. [p. 95]
Diane Ackerman (One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing)
It was as if they'd discovered something that had once been there but had gotten hidden or misunderstood or forgotten over time, and they were charmed by it once more, and by one another. Which seems only right and expectable for married people. They caught a glimpse of the person they fell in love with, and who sustained life. For some, that vision must never dim - as is true of me. But it was odd that our parents should catch their glimpse, and have frustration, anxiety and worry pass away like clouds dispersing after a storm, refind their best selves, but for that glimpse to happen just before landing our family in ruin.
Richard Ford (Canada)
Like you?” My face twisted in abhorrence, spitting the words like they were revolting. Her eyes widened. I shook my head, a dark chuckle on my lips. “You think I fucking like you? Are you kidding me here? I don’t like you. I love you. Even that’s an under-fucking-statement. I live for you. I breathe for you. I will die for you. It. Has. Always. Been. You. Ever since I saw your sorry ass for the first time on that threshold and you fucking poked me in the chest like I was a toy. We’ve been apart for ten years, Rose LeBlanc, and not even one day has passed without me thinking of you. And not just in passing. You know, the occasional she-could-have-been-a-g reat-fuck. I mean really taking my time to think about you. Wondering what you looked like. Where youwere. What you were doing. Who you were with. I stalked you on Facebook. And Twitter—which, by the way, you need to deactivate because you never once bothered to tweet—but you aren’t exactly a social media animal. I asked about you. Every time I was in town. And once I realized you were in New York with Millie…” “Rosie, I bought a new penthouse in TriBeca a few months before you moved into our building.” “Why are you telling me this?” She blinked away her tears, but fresh ones rolled down to replace them time. “Because I had to sell it and lost a shit-ton of money the moment I realized you were going to be my neighbor if I stayed in my current place. Real talk, Rosie, you are all I ever wanted. Even when you wanted me to be with your sister. She was a comforting candle. You were the dazzling sun. I’d lived in the dark—for your selfish ass. And if you think I’m going to settle for something , you’re dead wrong. I am taking everything . We will have kids, Rose LeBlanc. We will have a wedding. And we will have joy and vacations and days where we just fuck and days where we just fight and days where we just live. Because this is life, Baby LeBlanc, and I love the fuck out of you, so I’m going to give you the best one there is. Got it?
L.J. Shen (Ruckus (Sinners of Saint, #2))
Life is like a film screen: pictures come, make an impression, go, and then make a place for new pictures with new impressions which obscure the previous ones. Some of those old pictures fade, but the impressions they leave will never pass away. Such an impression is the image of Hein Sietsma -- a joyful Christian who loved life so much but was still willing to give it to the great, good, and holy cause.
Diet Eman (Things We Couldn't Say)
We were talking about the space between us all And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion, Never glimpse the truth, then it's far too late, when they pass away. We were talking about the love we all could share. When we find it, to try our best to hold it there. With our love, with our love, we could save the world. If they only knew. Try to realise it's all within yourself― No one else can make you change― And to see you're really only very small And life flows on within you and without you. We were talking about the love that's gone so cold And the people who gain the world and lose their soul. They don't know, they can't see. Are you one of them? When you've seen beyond yourself then you may find Peace of mind is waiting there, And the time will come when you see we're all one And life flows on within you and without you.
George Harrison
Cauldron save me," she began whispering, her voice lovely and even-like music. "Mother hold me," she went on, reciting a prayer similar to one I'd heard once before, when Tamlin eased the passing of that lesser faerie who'd died in the foyer. Another of Amarantha's victims. "Guide me to you." I was unable to raise my dagger, unable to take the step that would close the distance between us. "Let me pass through the gates; let me smell that immortal land of milk and honey." Silent tears slide down my face and neck, where they dampened the filthy collar of my tunic. As she spoke, I knew I would be forever barred from that immortal land. I knew that whatever Mother she meant would never embrace me. In saving Tamlin, I was to damn myself. I couldn't do this-couldn't lift that dagger again. "Let me fear no evil," she breathed, staring at me-into me, into the soul that was cleaving itself apart."Let me feel no pain." A sob broke from my lips. "I'm sorry," I moaned. "Let me enter eternity," She breathed. I wept as I understood. Kill me now, she was saying. Do it fast. Don't make it hurt. Kill me now. Her bronze eyes were steady, if not sorrowful. Infinitely, infinitely worse than the pleading of the dead faerie beside her. I couldn't do it. But she held my gaze-held my gaze and nodded. As I lifted the ash dagger, something inside me fractured so completely that there would be no hope of ever repairing it. No matter how many years passed, no matter how many times I might try to paint her face.” As I lifted the ash dagger, something inside me fractured so completely that there would be no hope of ever repairing it. No matter how many years passed, no matter how many times I might try to paint her face. More faeries wailed now-her kinsmen and friends. The dagger was a weight in my hand-my hand, shining and coated with the blood of the first faerie. It would be more honorable to refuse-to die, rather than murder innocents. But... but... "Let me enter eternity," she repeated, lifting her chin. "Fear no evil," she whispered-just for me. "Feel no pain." I gripped her delicate, bony shoulder and drove the dagger into her heart. She gasped, and blood spilled onto the ground like a splattering of rain. Her eyes were closed when I looked at her face again. She slumped to the floor and didn't move. I went somewhere far, far away from myself.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Once I was asked be a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight....what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughters, who wanted to be a writer. [I said], "Tell your daughter three things." Tell her to read...Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the words beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. ...Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing along information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these are three I trust. -- from "A Voice
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
Tell me, gentle flowers, teardrops of the stars, standing in the garden, nodding your heads to the bees as they sing of the dews and the sunbeams, are you aware of the fearful doom that awaits you? Dream on, sway and frolic while you may in the gentle breezes of summer. To- morrow a ruthless hand will close around your throats. You will be wrenched, torn asunder limb by limb, and borne away from your quiet homes. The wretch, she may be passing fair. She may say how lovely you are while her fingers are still moist with your blood. Tell me, will this be kindness? It may be your fate to be imprisoned in the hair of one whom you know to be heartless or to be thrust into the buttonhole of one who would not dare to look you in the face were you a man. It may even be your lot to be confined in some narrow vessel with only stagnant water to quench the maddening thirst that warns of ebbing life.
Kakuzō Okakura (The Book of Tea)
I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he's waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he's waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he's got all day. I hear people passing on the boardwalk and imagine them staring. Best-case scenario, they think I know this guy, that we're hugging. Worst-case scenario, they saw me totter like an intoxicated walrus into this complete stranger because I was looking down for a place to park our beach stuff. Either way, he knows what happened. He knows why my cheek is plastered to his bare chest. And there is definite humiliation waiting when I get around to looking up at him. Options skim through my head like a flip book. Option One: Run away as fast as my dollar-store flip flops can take me. Thing is, tripping over them is partly responsible for my current dilemma. In fact, one of them is missing, probably caught in a crack of the boardwalk. I'm getting Cinderella didn't feel this foolish, but then again, Cinderella wasn't as clumsy as an intoxicated walrus. Option two: Pretend I've fainted. Go limp and everything. Drool, even. But I know this won't work because my eyes flutter too much to fake it, and besides, people don't blush while unconscious. Option Three: Pray for a lightning bolt. A deadly one that you feel in advance because the air gets all atingle and your skin crawls-or so the science books say. It might kill us both, but really, he should have been paying more attention to me when he saw that I wasn't paying attention at all. For a shaved second, I think my prayers are answered because I go get tingly all over; goose bumps sprout everywhere, and my pulse feels like electricity. Then I realize, it's coming from my shoulders. From his hands. Option Last: For the love of God, peel my cheek off his chest and apologize for the casual assault. Then hobble away on my one flip-flop before I faint. With my luck, the lightning would only maim me, and he would feel obligated to carry me somewhere anyway. Also, do it now. I ease away from him and peer up. The fire on my cheeks has nothing to do with the fact that it's sweaty-eight degrees in the Florida sun and everything to do with the fact that I just tripped into the most attractive guy on the planet. Fan-flipping-tastic. "Are-are you all right?" he says, incredulous. I think I can see the shape of my cheek indented on his chest. I nod. "I'm fine. I'm used to it. Sorry." I shrug off his hands when he doesn't let go. The tingling stays behind, as if he left some of himself on me. "Jeez, Emma, are you okay?" Chloe calls from behind. The calm fwopping of my best friend's sandals suggests she's not as concerned as she sounds. Track star that she is, she would already be at my side if she thought I was hurt. I groan and face her, not surprised that she's grinning wide as the equator. She holds out my flip-flop, which I try not to snatch from her hand. "I'm fine. Everybody's fine," I say. I turn back to the guy, who seems to get more gorgeous by the second. "You're fine, right? No broken bones or anything?" He blinks, gives a slight nod. Chloe setts her surfboard against the rail of the boardwalk and extends her hand to him. He accepts it without taking his eyes off me. "I'm Chloe and this is Emma," she says. "We usually bring her helmet with us, but we left it back in the hotel room this time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
A KING WHO PLACED MIRRORS IN HIS PALACE There lived a king; his comeliness was such The world could not acclaim his charm too much. The world's wealth seemed a portion of his grace; It was a miracle to view his face. If he had rivals,then I know of none; The earth resounded with this paragon. When riding through his streets he did not fail To hide his features with a scarlet veil. Whoever scanned the veil would lose his head; Whoever spoke his name was left for dead, The tongue ripped from his mouth; whoever thrilled With passion for this king was quickly killed. A thousand for his love expired each day, And those who saw his face, in blank dismay Would rave and grieve and mourn their lives away- To die for love of that bewitching sight Was worth a hundred lives without his light. None could survive his absence patiently, None could endure this king's proximity- How strange it was that man could neither brook The presence nor the absence of his look! Since few could bear his sight, they were content To hear the king in sober argument, But while they listened they endure such pain As made them long to see their king again. The king commanded mirrors to be placed About the palace walls, and when he faced Their polished surfaces his image shone With mitigated splendour to the throne. If you would glimpse the beauty we revere Look in your heart-its image will appear. Make of your heart a looking-glass and see Reflected there the Friend's nobility; Your sovereign's glory will illuminate The palace where he reigns in proper state. Search for this king within your heart; His soul Reveals itself in atoms of the Whole. The multitude of forms that masquerade Throughout the world spring from the Simorgh's shade. If you catch sight of His magnificence It is His shadow that beguiles your glance; The Simorgh's shadow and Himself are one; Seek them together, twinned in unison. But you are lost in vague uncertainty... Pass beyond shadows to Reality. How can you reach the Simorgh's splendid court? First find its gateway, and the sun, long-sought, Erupts through clouds; when victory is won, Your sight knows nothing but the blinding sun.
Attar of Nishapur
EPILOGUE This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you. You are not alone. No one who calls on Him can call in vain. Whatever troubles you, be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him. He will not withhold all answers that you need for anything that seems to trouble you. He knows the way to solve all problems, and resolve all doubts. His certainty is yours. You need but ask it of Him, and it will be given you. You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed, your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the course of those whom God has called to Him. Therefore obey your will, and follow Him Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak of what you really want and really need. His is the Voice for God and also yours. And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth. No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word. His is the Word that God has given you. His is the Word you chose to be your own. And now I place you in His hands, to be His faithful follower, with Him as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real. Nor will He give you pleasures that will pass away, for He gives only the eternal and the good. Let Him prepare you further. He has earned your trust by speaking daily to you of your Father and your brother and your Self. He will continue. Now you walk with Him, as certain as is He of where you go; as sure as He of how you should proceed; as confident as He is of the goal, and of your safe arrival in the end. The end is certain, and the means as well. To this we say “Amen.” You will be told exactly what God wills for you each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not, and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach. And so we walk with Him from this time on, and turn to Him for guidance and for peace and sure direction. Joy attends our way. For we go homeward to an open door which God has held unclosed to welcome us. We trust our ways to Him and say “Amen.” In peace we will continue in His way, and trust all things to Him. In confidence we wait His answers, as we ask His Will in everything we do. He loves God’s Son as we would love him. And He teaches us how to behold him through His eyes, and love him as He does. You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless.
Foundation for Inner Peace (A Course in Miracles)
By Jove, it's great! Walk along the streets on some spring morning. The little women, daintily tripping along, seem to blossom out like flowers. What a delightful, charming sight! The dainty perfume of violet is everywhere. The city is gay, and everybody notices the women. By Jove, how tempting they are in their light, thin dresses, which occasionally give one a glimpse of the delicate pink flesh beneath! "One saunters along, head up, mind alert, and eyes open. I tell you it's great! You see her in the distance, while still a block away; you already know that she is going to please you at closer quarters. You can recognize her by the flower on her hat, the toss of her head, or her gait. She approaches, and you say to yourself: 'Look out, here she is!' You come closer to her and you devour her with your eyes. "Is it a young girl running errands for some store, a young woman returning from church, or hastening to see her lover? What do you care? Her well-rounded bosom shows through the thin waist. Oh, if you could only take her in your arms and fondle and kiss her! Her glance may be timid or bold, her hair light or dark. What difference does it make? She brushes against you, and a cold shiver runs down your spine. Ah, how you wish for her all day! How many of these dear creatures have I met this way, and how wildly in love I would have been had I known them more intimately. "Have you ever noticed that the ones we would love the most distractedly are those whom we never meet to know? Curious, isn't it? From time to time we barely catch a glimpse of some woman, the mere sight of whom thrills our senses. But it goes no further. When I think of all the adorable creatures that I have elbowed in the streets of Paris, I fairly rave. Who are they! Where are they? Where can I find them again? There is a proverb which says that happiness often passes our way; I am sure that I have often passed alongside the one who could have caught me like a linnet in the snare of her fresh beauty.
Guy de Maupassant (Selected Short Stories)
Not to waste the spring I threw down everything, And ran into the open world To sing what I could sing... To dance what I could dance! And join with everyone! I wandered with a reckless heart beneath the newborn sun. First stepping through the blushing dawn, I crossed beneath a garden bower, counting every hermit thrush, counting every hour. When morning's light was ripe at last, I stumbled on with reckless feet; and found two nymphs engaged in play, approaching them stirred no retreat. With naked skin, their weaving hands, in form akin to Calliope's maids, shook winter currents from their hair to weave within them vernal braids. I grabbed the first, who seemed the stronger by her soft and dewy leg, and swore blind eyes, Lest I find I, before Diana, a hunted stag. But the nymphs they laughed, and shook their heads. and begged I drop beseeching hands. For one was no goddess, the other no huntress, merely two girls at play in the early day. "Please come to us, with unblinded eyes, and raise your ready lips. We will wash your mouth with watery sighs, weave you springtime with our fingertips." So the nymphs they spoke, we kissed and laid, by noontime's hour, our love was made, Like braided chains of crocus stems, We lay entwined, I laid with them, Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea, Our bodies draping wearily. We slept, I slept so lucidly, with hopes to stay this memory. I woke in dusty afternoon, Alone, the nymphs had left too soon, I searched where perched upon my knees Heard only larks' songs in the trees. "Be you, the larks, my far-flung maids? With lilac feet and branchlike braids... Who sing sweet odes to my elation, in your larking exaltation!" With these, my clumsy, carefree words, The birds they stirred and flew away, "Be I, poor Actaeon," I cried, "Be dead… Before they, like Hippodamia, be gone astray!" Yet these words, too late, remained unheard, By lark, that parting, morning bird. I looked upon its parting flight, and smelled the coming of the night; desirous, I gazed upon its jaunt, as Leander gazes Hellespont. Now the hour was ripe and dark, sensuous memories of sunlight past, I stood alone in garden bowers and asked the value of my hours. Time was spent or time was tossed, Life was loved and life was lost. I kissed the flesh of tender girls, I heard the songs of vernal birds. I gazed upon the blushing light, aware of day before the night. So let me ask and hear a thought: Did I live the spring I’d sought? It's true in joy, I walked along, took part in dance, and sang the song. and never tried to bind an hour to my borrowed garden bower; nor did I once entreat a day to slumber at my feet. Yet days aren't lulled by lyric song, like morning birds they pass along, o'er crests of trees, to none belong; o'er crests of trees of drying dew, their larking flight, my hands, eschew Thus I'll say it once and true… From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
Once I was asked by a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight, a man who took the liberty of glancing repeatedly at the correspondence in my lap, what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughter, who wanted to be a writer. I didn't know how to answer him, but before I could think I heard myself saying, 'Tell your daughter three things.' "Tell her to read, I said. Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the world beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. Tell her to read classics like The Odyssey. They've been around a long time because the patterns in them have proved endlessly useful, and, to borrow Evan Connell's observation, with a good book you never touch bottom. But warn your daughter that ideas of heroism, of love, of human duty and devotion that women have been writing about for centuries will not be available to her in this form. To find these voices she will have to search. When, on her own, she begins to ask, make her a present of George Eliot, or the travel writing of Alexandra David-Neel, or To the Lighthouse. "Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing on information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. "Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. "Read. Find out what you truly are. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these three I trust.
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
Birthdays are a time when one stock takes, which means, I suppose, a good spineless mope: I scan my horizon and can discern no sail of hope along my own particular ambition. I tell you what it is: I'm quite in accord with the people who enquire 'What is the matter with the man?' because I don't seem to be producing anything as the years pass but rank self indulgence. You know that my sole ambition, officially at any rate, was to write poems & novels, an activity I never found any difficulty fulfilling between the (dangerous) ages of 17-24: I can't very well ignore the fact that this seems to have died a natural death. On the other hand I feel regretful that what talents I have in this direction are not being used. Then again, if I am not going to produce anything in the literary line, the justification for my selfish life is removed - but since I go on living it, the suspicion arises that the writing existed to produce the life, & not vice versa. And as a life it has very little to recommend it: I spend my days footling in a job I care nothing about, a curate among lady-clerks; I evade all responsibility, familial, professional, emotional, social, not even saving much money or helping my mother. I look around me & I see people getting on, or doing things, or bringing up children - and here I am in a kind of vacuum. If I were writing, I would even risk the fearful old age of the Henry-James hero: not fearful in circumstance but in realisation: because to me to catch, render, preserve, pickle, distil or otherwise secure life-as-it-seemed for the future seems to me infinitely worth doing; but as I'm not the entire morality of it collapses. And when I ask why I'm not, well, I'm not because I don't want to: every novel I attempt stops at a point where I awake from the impulse as one might awake from a particularly-sickening nightmare - I don't want to 'create character', I don't want to be vivid or memorable or precise, I neither wish to bathe each scene in the lambency of the 'love that accepts' or be excoriatingly cruel, smart, vicious, 'penetrating' (ugh), or any of the other recoil qualities. In fact, like the man in St Mawr, I want nothing. Nothing, I want. And so it becomes quite impossible for me to carry on. This failure of impulse seems to me suspiciously like a failure of sexual impulse: people conceive novels and dash away at them & finish them in the same way as they fall in love & will not be satisfied till they're married - another point on which I seem to be out of step. There's something cold & heavy sitting on me somewhere, & until something budges it I am no good.
Philip Larkin (Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica)
The Jumblies I They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they went to sea: In spite of all their friends could say, On a winter's morn, on a stormy day, In a Sieve they went to sea! And when the Sieve turned round and round, And every one cried, 'You'll all be drowned!' They called aloud, 'Our Sieve ain't big, But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig! In a Sieve we'll go to sea!' Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve. II They sailed away in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they sailed so fast, With only a beautiful pea-green veil Tied with a riband by way of a sail, To a small tobacco-pipe mast; And every one said, who saw them go, 'O won't they be soon upset, you know! For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long, And happen what may, it's extremely wrong In a Sieve to sail so fast!' Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve. III The water it soon came in, it did, The water it soon came in; So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet In a pinky paper all folded neat, And they fastened it down with a pin. And they passed the night in a crockery-jar, And each of them said, 'How wise we are! Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long, Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong, While round in our Sieve we spin!' Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve. IV And all night long they sailed away; And when the sun went down, They whistled and warbled a moony song To the echoing sound of a coppery gong, In the shade of the mountains brown. 'O Timballo! How happy we are, When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar, And all night long in the moonlight pale, We sail away with a pea-green sail, In the shade of the mountains brown!' Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve. V They sailed to the Western Sea, they did, To a land all covered with trees, And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart, And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart, And a hive of silvery Bees. And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws, And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws, And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree, And no end of Stilton Cheese. Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve. VI And in twenty years they all came back, In twenty years or more, And every one said, 'How tall they've grown! For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone, And the hills of the Chankly Bore!' And they drank their health, and gave them a feast Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast; And every one said, 'If we only live, We too will go to sea in a Sieve,--- To the hills of the Chankly Bore!' Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve.
Edward Lear
You will have to pass through the Announcer first. Don't get hung up there. Move through until you find him in the Fall." "I have to go alone, don't I?" "I would follow you to the ends of the Earth and beyond. But you're the only one who can do this," Daniel said. He took her hand and kissed her fingers, her palm. He was shaking. "I'll be here." Their lips met one last time. "I love you, Luce," Daniel said. "I will love you always, whether or not Lucifer succeeds-" "No, don't say that," Luce said. "He won't-" "But if he does," Daniel continued, "I want you to know that I would do it all again. I will choose you every time." A calmness came over Luce. She would not fail him. She would not fail herself. "I won't be long." She squeezed his hand and turned away and plunged through darkness, into Lucifer's Announcer.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
Getting honest with ourselves does not make us unacceptable to God. It does not distance us from God, but draws us to Him—as nothing else can—and opens us anew to the flow of grace. While Jesus calls each of us to a more perfect life, we cannot achieve it on our own. To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace. It is only through grace that any of us could dare to hope that we could become more like Christ. The saved sinner with the tilted halo has been converted from mistrust to trust, has arrived at an inner poverty of spirit, and lives as best he or she can in rigorous honesty with self, others, and God. The question the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t. Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ? They can’t. Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t. Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children’s future? They can’t. Negative self-image? It can’t. Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can’t. Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can’t. Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can’t. Nuclear war? It can’t. Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can’t. The gospel of grace calls out, Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord. You must be convinced of this, trust it, and never forget to remember. Everything else will pass away, but the love of Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Faith will become vision, hope will become possession, but the love of Jesus Christ that is stronger than death endures forever. In the end, it is the one thing you can hang onto.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
A mind that is seeking is not a passionate mind and to come upon love without seeking it is the only way to find it – to come upon it unknowingly and not as the result of any effort or experience. Such a love, you will find, is not of time; such a love is both personal and impersonal, is both the one and the many. Like a flower that has perfume you can smell it or pass it by. That flower is for everybody and for the one who takes trouble to breathe it deeply and look at it with delight. Whether one is very near in the garden, or very far away, it is the same to the flower because it is full of that perfume and therefore it is sharing with everybody.
J. Krishnamurti (Freedom from the Known)
The morgue is a Victorian update of a system established by Alfred the Great. It's the place where certain deaths are resolved - those where the cause is unclear or is the result of some intended or accidental violence. The bodies are almost always victims in some way - of crime, suicides and car crashes, but also victims of loneliness. It's where you go if you die alone in your flat and your body lies undisturbed for days. It's where you go if no one knew you were dying and no GP attended your final hours. It's where you go if no loved one held your hand as you slipped away. In one way or another, then, all the people who pass through this room are the people who die screaming.
Stephen Armstrong
Truly a rare opportunity was given to Marcus Aurelius of showing what the mind can do in despite of circumstances. Most peaceful of warriors, a magnificent monarch whose ideal was quiet happiness in home life, bent to obscurity yet born to greatness, the loving father of children who died young or turned out hateful, his life was one paradox. That nothing might lack, it was in camp before the face of the enemy that he passed away and went to his own place.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
I have seen the coming of the dawn. Unconcernedly watching the passing of the day, Whiled away my hours in joyful play- I live to simply sing the song of love And play the music of my heart- Dancing and playing in the light, I am filled with passion and delight. My voice is free. It rises and floats away from me- I am unable to escape these walls. My body will not float like my song’s plaintive calls. Only in my mind I float free as my song And I fly to a home where I belong. There, those who know my heart well Sing, sing, sing with my song’s spell- They snatched my voice, Held me against my choice. I forget all that was mine Yet I reach to dream it one last time. I struggle to the last But my light is fading fast, A lone warrior waging a brutal fight Against an endless night. I fight for escape even if the notes of this song Are only the part of me to leave. I rise up out of here, Reaching for the things I hold dear. I will not stay silent, I shall not remain still. I sing. I sing to the end.
Victoria Forester (The Girl Who Could Fly (Piper McCloud, #1))
Think, let us say, of the times of Vespasian; and what do you see? Men and women busy marrying, bringing up children, sickening, dying, fighting, feasting, chaffering, farming, flattering, bragging, envying, scheming, calling down curses, grumbling at fate, loving, hoarding, coveting thrones and dignities. Of all that life, not a trace survives today. Or come forward to the days of Trajan; again, it is the same; that life, too, has perished. Take a similar look at the records of other past ages and peoples; mark how one and all, after their short-lived strivings, passed away and were resolved into the elements. More especially, recall some who, within your own knowledge, have followed after vanities instead of contenting themselves with a resolute performance of the duties for which they were created. In such cases it is essential to remind ourselves that the pursuit of any object depends for its value upon the worth of the object pursued. If, then, you would avoid discouragement, never become unduly absorbed in things that are not of the first importance.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Yes, it was a "beautiful" sermon, tugging the emotions and conjuring up pictures of greatness and peace. But were they talking about the decent peppery ordinary old man he knew, or had the subject strayed to the story of some saint of the past? Or were there perhaps two men being buried under the same name? One perhaps had shown himself to Ross, while the other had been reserved for the view of men like William-Alfred. Ross tried to remember Charles before he was ill, Charles with his love of cockfighting and his hearty appetite, with his perpetual flatulence and passion for gin, with his occasional generosities and meannesses and faults and virtues, like most men. There was some mistake somewhere. Oh well, this was a special occasion...But Charles himself would surely have been amused. Or would he have shed a tear with the rest for the manner of man who had passed away?
Winston Graham (Ross Poldark (Poldark, #1))
Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse. The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." "I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
Margery Williams Bianco (The Velveteen Rabbit (Illustrated))
There's not much to say about loneliness, for it's not a broad subject. Any child, alone in her room, can journey across its entire breadth, from border to border, in an hour. Though not broad, our subject is deep. Loneliness is deeper than the ocean. But here, too, there is no mystery. Our intrepid child is liable to fall quickly to the very bottom without even trying. And since the depths of loneliness cannot sustain human life, the child will swim to the surface again in short order, no worse for wear. Some of us, though, can bring breathing aids down with us for longer stays: imaginary friends, drugs and alcohol, mind-numbing entertainment, hobbies, ironclad routine, and pets. (Pets are some of the best enablers of loneliness, your own cuddlesome Murphy notwithstanding.) With the help of these aids, a poor sap can survive the airless depths of loneliness long enough to experience its true horror -- duration. Did you know, Myren Vole, that when presented with the same odor (even my own) for a duration of only several minutes, the olfactory nerves become habituated -- as my daughter used to say -- to it and cease transmitting its signal to the brain? Likewise, most pain loses its edge in time. Time heals all -- as they say. Even the loss of a loved one, perhaps life's most wrenching pain, is blunted in time. It recedes into the background where it can be borne with lesser pains. Not so our friend loneliness, which grows only more keen and insistent with each passing hour. Loneliness is as needle sharp now as it was an hour ago, or last week. But if loneliness is the wound, what's so secret about it? I submit to you, Myren Vole, that the most painful death of all is suffocation by loneliness. And by the time I started on my portrait of Jean, I was ten years into it (with another five to go). It is from that vantage point that I tell you that loneliness itself is the secret. It's a secret you cannot tell anyone. Why? Because to confess your loneliness is to confess your failure as a human being. To confess would only cause others to pity and avoid you, afraid that what you have is catching. Your condition is caused by a lack of human relationship, and yet to admit to it only drives your possible rescuers farther away (while attracting cats). So you attempt to hide your loneliness in public, to behave, in fact, as though you have too many friends already, and thus you hope to attract people who will unwittingly save you. But it never works that way. Your condition is written all over your face, in the hunch of your shoulders, in the hollowness of your laugh. You fool no one. Believe me in this; I've tried all the tricks of the lonely man.
David Marusek (Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1))
If I don't beat the cancer growing inside of me, I want you to go on. I want you to find another woman to love. You have so much to give, so much love to share that I never want you to be alone again. If I’m not here anymore, I want to know that you’re happy and not alone. Don’t fall into the same despair you did after losing Maggie. Remember that sometimes it’s all just part of the journey we’re meant to travel to be with the one who’s destined to be ours.” The words are hard to say. Facing my mortality and knowing I can pass away makes my chest ache and my heart pound furiously, almost out of control.
Chelle Bliss (Enshrine)
And the conservatives have not mounted what seems to be their real objection: that they wish to preserve traditional marriage and more than that, traditional gender roles. I know lovely and amazing heterosexual couples who married in the 1940s and 1950s and every decade since. Their marriages are egalitarian, full of mutuality and generosity. But even people who weren't particularly nasty were deeply unequal in the past. I also know a decent man who just passed away, age ninety-one: in his prime he took a job on the other side of the country without informing his wife that she was moving or inviting her to participate in the decision. Her life was not hers to determine. It was his. It's time to slam the door shut on that era. And to open another door, through which we can welcome equality: between genders, among marital partners, for everyone in every circumstance. Marriage equality is a threat: to inequality. It's a boon to everyone who values and benefits from equality. It's for all of us.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
Methinks, Oh! vain ill-judging Book, I see thee cast a wishful look, Where reputations won and lost are In famous row called Paternoster. Incensed to find your precious olio Buried in unexplored port-folio, You scorn the prudent lock and key, And pant well bound and gilt to see Your Volume in the window set Of Stockdale, Hookham, or Debrett. Go then, and pass that dangerous bourn Whence never Book can back return: And when you find, condemned, despised, Neglected, blamed, and criticised, Abuse from All who read you fall, (If haply you be read at all Sorely will you your folly sigh at, And wish for me, and home, and quiet. Assuming now a conjuror’s office, I Thus on your future Fortune prophesy: — Soon as your novelty is o’er, And you are young and new no more, In some dark dirty corner thrown, Mouldy with damps, with cobwebs strown, Your leaves shall be the Book-worm’s prey; Or sent to Chandler–Shop away, And doomed to suffer public scandal, Shall line the trunk, or wrap the candle! But should you meet with approbation, And some one find an inclination To ask, by natural transition Respecting me and my condition; That I am one, the enquirer teach, Nor very poor, nor very rich; Of passions strong, of hasty nature, Of graceless form and dwarfish stature; By few approved, and few approving; Extreme in hating and in loving; Abhorring all whom I dislike, Adoring who my fancy strike; In forming judgements never long, And for the most part judging wrong; In friendship firm, but still believing Others are treacherous and deceiving, And thinking in the present aera That Friendship is a pure chimaera: More passionate no creature living, Proud, obstinate, and unforgiving, But yet for those who kindness show, Ready through fire and smoke to go. Again, should it be asked your page, ‘Pray, what may be the author’s age?’ Your faults, no doubt, will make it clear, I scarce have seen my twentieth year, Which passed, kind Reader, on my word, While England’s Throne held George the Third. Now then your venturous course pursue: Go, my delight! Dear Book, adieu!
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
And so, it is not our own life that we live, but the lives of the dead, and the soul that dwells within us is no single spiritual entity, making us personal and individual, created for our service, and entering into us for our joy. It is something that has dwelt in fearful places, and in ancient sepulchres has made its abode. It is sick with many maladies, and has memories of curious sins. It is wiser than we are, and its wisdom is bitter. It fills us with impossible desires, and makes us follow what we know we cannot gain. One thing, however, Ernest, it can do for us. It can lead us away from surroundings whose beauty is dimmed to us by the mist of familiarity, or whose ignoble ugliness and sordid claims are marring the perfection of our development. It can help us to leave the age in which we were born, and to pass into other ages, and find ourselves not exiled from their air. It can teach us how to escape from our experience, and to realise the experiences of those who are greater than we are. The pain of Leopardi crying out against life becomes our pain. Theocritus blows on his pipe, and we laugh with the lips of nymph and shepherd. In the wolfskin of Pierre Vidal we flee before the hounds, and in the armour of Lancelot we ride from the bower of the Queen. We have whispered the secret of our love beneath the cowl of Abelard, and in the stained raiment of Villon have put our shame into song. We can see the dawn through Shelley's eyes, and when we wander with Endymion the Moon grows amorous of our youth. Ours is the anguish of Atys, and ours the weak rage and noble sorrows of the Dane. Do you think that it is the imagination that enables us to live these countless lives? Yes: it is the imagination; and the imagination is the result of heredity. It is simply concentrated race-experience.
Oscar Wilde (The Critic As Artist: With Some Remarks on the Importance of Doing Nothing and Discussing Everything (Green Integer))
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master." The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death." Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over." Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath." He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain." "Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
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 (Theological Fascinations))
For those who seem to have difficulty moving forward: "Sometimes Destiny is calling but you refuse to give in to the signs because of past hurts and baggages. Sometimes the love you are searching for all this time is just right in front of you but you remain to be blind because of fear. Because of always thinking that things may not work out right instead of telling yourself that you should move forward and get happy again.Why not think instead of how beautiful something could turn out to be if you take that chance and go for it than merely let the chance pass you by again and live a life of "what ifs" along the way?You cannot label each special person you meet in this life as "the One Who Got Away". Move forward, dear one, you just don't know how special you are in someone's eyes." -Elizabeth's Quotes
Elizabeth E. Castillo
Born in the East, and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet, and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. It comes into the palace to tell the monarch that he is the servant of the Most High, and into the cottage to assure the peasant that he is the son of God. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wisemen ponder them as parables of life. It has a word of peace for the time of peril, the hour of darkness. Its oracles are repeated in the assembly of the people, and its counsels whispered in the ear of the lonely. The wise and the proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother's voice. The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad by it, and the fire on the hearth has lighted the reading of its well-worn pages. It has woven itself into our deepest affections, and colored our dearest dreams; so that love and friendship, sympathy and devotion, memory and hope, put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech, breathing of frankincense and myrrh. Above the cradle and beside the grave its great words come to us uncalled. They fill our prayers with power larger than we know, and the beauty of them lingers in our ear long after the sermons which they have adorned have been forgotten. They return to us swiftly and quietly, like birds flying from far away. They surprise us with new meanings, like springs of water breaking forth from the mountain beside a long-forgotten path. They grow richer, as pearls do when they are worn near the heart. No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own. When the landscape darkens and the trembling pilgrim comes to the valley named the shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of Scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, "Good-by, we shall meet again"; and comforted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who climbs through darkness into light.
Henry Van Dyke
On our particular mission, senior marines met with local school officials while the rest of us provided security or hung out with the schoolkids, playing soccer and passing out candy and school supplies. One very shy boy approached me and held out his hand. When I gave him a small eraser, his face briefly lit up with joy before he ran away to his family, holding his two-cent prize aloft in triumph. I have never seen such excitement on a child’s face. I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is. But that moment, with that boy, was pretty close for me. For my entire life, I’d harbored resentment at the world. I was mad at my mother and father, mad that I rode the bus to school while other kids caught rides with friends, mad that my clothes didn’t come from Abercrombie, mad that my grandfather died, mad that we lived in a small house. That resentment didn’t vanish in an instant, but as I stood and surveyed the mass of children of a war-torn nation, their school without running water, and the overjoyed boy, I began to appreciate how lucky I was: born in the greatest country on earth, every modern convenience at my fingertips, supported by two loving hillbillies, and part of a family that, for all its quirks, loved me unconditionally. At that moment, I resolved to be the type of man who would smile when someone gave him an eraser. I haven’t quite made it there, but without that day in Iraq, I wouldn’t be trying. The
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
The institution of slavery was, for a quarter millennium, the conversion of human beings into currency, into machines who existed solely for the profit of their owners, to be worked as long as the owners desired, who had no rights over their bodies or loved ones, who could be mortgaged, bred, won in a bet, given as wedding presents, bequeathed to heirs, sold away from spouses or children to cover an owner’s debt or to spite a rival or to settle an estate. They were regularly whipped, raped, and branded, subjected to any whim or distemper of the people who owned them. Some were castrated or endured other tortures too grisly for these pages, tortures that the Geneva Conventions would have banned as war crimes had the conventions applied to people of African descent on this soil. Before there was a United States of America, there was enslavement. Theirs was a living death passed down for twelve generations.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
A woman named Cynthia once told me a story about the time her father had made plans to take her on a night out in San Francisco. Twelve-year-old Cynthia and her father had been planning the “date” for months. They had a whole itinerary planned down to the minute: she would attend the last hour of his presentation, and then meet him at the back of the room at about four-thirty and leave quickly before everyone tried to talk to him. They would catch a tram to Chinatown, eat Chinese food (their favourite), shop for a souvenir, see the sights for a while and then “catch a flick” as her dad liked to say. Then they would grab a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the pool for a quick swim (her dad was famous for sneaking in when the pool was closed), order a hot fudge sundae from room service, and watch the late, late show. They discussed the details over and over again before they left. The anticipation was part of the whole experience. This was all going according to plan until, as her father was leaving the convention centre, he ran into an old college friend and business associate. It had been years since they had seen each other, and Cynthia watched as they embraced enthusiastically. His friend said, in effect: “I am so glad you are doing some work with our company now. When Lois and I heard about it we thought it would be perfect. We want to invite you, and of course Cynthia, to get a spectacular seafood dinner down at the Wharf!” Cynthia’s father responded: “Bob, it’s so great to see you. Dinner at the wharf sounds great!” Cynthia was crestfallen. Her daydreams of tram rides and ice cream sundaes evaporated in an instant. Plus, she hated seafood and she could just imagine how bored she would be listening to the adults talk all night. But then her father continued: “But not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special date planned, don’t we?” He winked at Cynthia and grabbed her hand and they ran out of the door and continued with what was an unforgettable night in San Francisco. As it happens, Cynthia’s father was the management thinker Stephen R. Covey (author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) who had passed away only weeks before Cynthia told me this story. So it was with deep emotion she recalled that evening in San Francisco. His simple decision “Bonded him to me forever because I knew what mattered most to him was me!” she said.5 One simple answer is we are unclear about what is essential. When this happens we become defenceless. On the other hand, when we have strong internal clarity it is almost as if we have a force field protecting us from the non-essentials coming at us from all directions. With Rosa it was her deep moral clarity that gave her unusual courage of conviction. With Stephen it was the clarity of his vision for the evening with his loving daughter. In virtually every instance, clarity about what is essential fuels us with the strength to say no to the non-essentials. Stephen R. Covey, one of the most respected and widely read business thinkers of his generation, was an Essentialist. Not only did he routinely teach Essentialist principles – like “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – to important leaders and heads of state around the world, he lived them.6 And in this moment of living them with his daughter he made a memory that literally outlasted his lifetime. Seen with some perspective, his decision seems obvious. But many in his shoes would have accepted the friend’s invitation for fear of seeming rude or ungrateful, or passing up a rare opportunity to dine with an old friend. So why is it so hard in the moment to dare to choose what is essential over what is non-essential?
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
Her pretty name of Adina seemed to me to have somehow a mystic fitness to her personality. Behind a cold shyness, there seemed to lurk a tremulous promise to be franker when she knew you better. Adina is a strange child; she is fanciful without being capricious. She was stout and fresh-coloured, she laughed and talked rather loud, and generally, in galleries and temples, caused a good many stiff British necks to turn round. She had a mania for excursions, and at Frascati and Tivoli she inflicted her good-humoured ponderosity on diminutive donkeys with a relish which seemed to prove that a passion for scenery, like all our passions, is capable of making the best of us pitiless. Adina may not have the shoulders of the Venus of Milo...but I hope it will take more than a bauble like this to make her stoop. Adina espied the first violet of the year glimmering at the root of a cypress. She made haste to rise and gather it, and then wandered further, in the hope of giving it a few companions. Scrope sat and watched her as she moved slowly away, trailing her long shadow on the grass and drooping her head from side to side in her charming quest. It was not, I know, that he felt no impulse to join her; but that he was in love, for the moment, with looking at her from where he sat. Her search carried her some distance and at last she passed out of sight behind a bend in the villa wall. I don't pretend to be sure that I was particularly struck, from this time forward, with something strange in our quiet Adina. She had always seemed to me vaguely, innocently strange; it was part of her charm that in the daily noiseless movement of her life a mystic undertone seemed to murmur "You don't half know me! Perhaps we three prosaic mortals were not quite worthy to know her: yet I believe that if a practised man of the world had whispered to me, one day, over his wine, after Miss Waddington had rustled away from the table, that there was a young lady who, sooner or later, would treat her friends to a first class surprise, I should have laid my finger on his sleeve and told him with a smile that he phrased my own thought. .."That beautiful girl," I said, "seems to me agitated and preoccupied." "That beautiful girl is a puzzle. I don't know what's the matter with her; it's all very painful; she's a very strange creature. I never dreamed there was an obstacle to our happiness--to our union. She has never protested and promised; it's not her way, nor her nature; she is always humble, passive, gentle; but always extremely grateful for every sign of tenderness. Till within three or four days ago, she seemed to me more so than ever; her habitual gentleness took the form of a sort of shrinking, almost suffering, deprecation of my attentions, my petits soins, my lovers nonsense. It was as if they oppressed and mortified her--and she would have liked me to bear more lightly. I did not see directly that it was not the excess of my devotion, but my devotion itself--the very fact of my love and her engagement that pained her. When I did it was a blow in the face. I don't know what under heaven I've done! Women are fathomless creatures. And yet Adina is not capricious, in the common sense... .So these are peines d'amour?" he went on, after brooding a moment. "I didn't know how fiercely I was in love!" Scrope stood staring at her as she thrust out the crumpled note: that she meant that Adina--that Adina had left us in the night--was too large a horror for his unprepared sense...."Good-bye to everything! Think me crazy if you will. I could never explain. Only forget me and believe that I am happy, happy, happy! Adina Beati."... Love is said to be par excellence the egotistical passion; if so Adina was far gone. "I can't promise to forget you," I said; "you and my friend here deserve to be remembered!
Henry James (Adina)
I BELIEVE THAT we know much more about God than we admit that we know, than perhaps we altogether know that we know. God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
It’s really hard to deny a kid who’s father has passed away. We all just wanted you to be happy so we messed that up. Your career wasn’t about the money. Not at first. It gave you both something big to do so you could stay busy and forget how much you missed your dad.” His heart twisted, and he whispered, “When I think of him...I don’t remember his face, but I do remember how much it hurt to have him simply there one day and gone the next...just gone.” Nan nodded. “Imagine how your mom felt. Your dad was the love of her life.
Anne Eliot (Unmaking Hunter Kennedy)
You were burning in the middle of the worst solar storm our records can remember. (...) Everyone else fled. All your companions and crew left you alone to wrestle with the storm. “You did not blame them. In a moment of crystal insight, you realized that they were cowards beyond mere cowardice: their dependence on their immortality circuits had made it so that they could not even imagine risking their lives. They were all alike in this respect. They did not know they were not brave; they could not even think of dying as possible; how could they think of facing it, unflinching? “You did not flinch. You knew you were going to die; you knew it when the Sophotechs, who are immune to pain and fear, all screamed and failed and vanished. “And you knew, in that moment of approaching death, with all your life laid out like a single image for you to examine in a frozen moment of time, that no one was immortal, not ultimately, not really. The day may be far away, it may be further away than the dying of the sun, or the extinction of the stars, but the day will come when all our noumenal systems fail, our brilliant machines all pass away, and our records of ourselves and memories shall be lost. “If all life is finite, only the grace and virtue with which it is lived matters, not the length. So you decided to stay another moment, and erect magnetic shields, one by one; to discharge interruption masses into the current, to break up the reinforcement patterns in the storm. Not life but honor mattered to you, Helion: so you stayed a moment after that moment, and then another. (...) “You saw the plasma erupting through shield after shield (...) Chaos was attempting to destroy your life’s work, and major sections of the Solar Array were evaporated. Chaos was attempting to destroy your son’s lifework, and since he was aboard that ship, outside the range of any noumenal circuit, it would have destroyed your son as well. “The Array was safe, but you stayed another moment, to try to deflect the stream of particles and shield your son; circuit after circuit failed, and still you stayed, playing the emergency like a raging orchestra. “When the peak of the storm was passed, it was too late for you: you had stayed too long; the flames were coming. But the radio-static cleared long enough for you to have last words with your son, whom you discovered, to your surprise, you loved better than life itself. In your mind, he was the living image of the best thing in you, the ideal you always wanted to achieve. “ ‘Chaos has killed me, son,’ you said. ‘But the victory of unpredictability is hollow. Men imagine, in their pride, that they can predict life’s each event, and govern nature and govern each other with rules of unyielding iron. Not so. There will always be men like you, my son, who will do the things no one else predicts or can control. I tried to tame the sun and failed; no one knows what is at its fiery heart; but you will tame a thousand suns, and spread mankind so wide in space that no one single chance, no flux of chaos, no unexpected misfortune, will ever have power enough to harm us all. For men to be civilized, they must be unlike each other, so that when chaos comes to claim them, no two will use what strategy the other does, and thus, even in the middle of blind chaos, some men, by sheer blind chance, if nothing else, will conquer. “ ‘The way to conquer the chaos which underlies all the illusionary stable things in life, is to be so free, and tolerant, and so much in love with liberty, that chaos itself becomes our ally; we shall become what no one can foresee; and courage and inventiveness will be the names we call our fearless unpredictability…’ “And you vowed to support Phaethon’s effort, and you died in order that his dream might live.
John C. Wright (The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3))
She was too compelling to look at directly. Bright like the sun, bright and terrible. Only one other being could look upon her, and that was Death. And so…they became lovers.” He said the word like a caress, like velvet again, and my face began to heat. “Together they forged great and hellish things,” Jesse murmured. “Lightning and waterfalls that churned into clouds off the tip of the world. Chasms so winding deep that daylight never traced their endings. They dreamed through golden days and silvered nights. All the other creatures envied or adored them, because Death and the Elemental were destruction and creation joined as One. In the natural order of things, they should not have been stronger joined. And yet they were.” He shifted, coming closer to me. A hand settled lightly atop my chest, directly over my heart. At our feet the seawater splashed a little, as if disturbed by something rolling over in the dark, distant deep. “Centuries passed, and mankind began to devour the earth, even the wildest places. They had tools to invent and wars to fight and grubby, short lives. Nothing about them dwelled in the magic of the ancient spirits. So although Death, the Great Hunter, prospered as he sieved through their villages, the Elemental, strong as she once was, thinned into a web of gossamer. Human lives simply tore her apart.” His hand was so warm. Warmer than I, warmer than the air, and still just barely touching me. The light behind my lids never lifted, so I knew he wasn’t glowing, but it felt as if he held a tame coal to my skin. It felt like something painless and ablaze, drawing my heart upward into it. “The time had come for them to divide. Like all the rest of her kind, the goddess would cease to exist; she had no other course. So Death and the Elemental severed their joined hearts. For a few generations more, she drifted alone through the last of the sacred places, deserts, and fjords, lands so savage no human had yet desecrated them.” Jesse’s voice dropped to a whisper. Without moving his hand, he bent down, his breath in my ear. “And Death, who had tasted her brightness, who would never cease to crave it-who knew her better than all the collected souls of all mankind’s weeping dead-became her Hunter.” I was hot and strange. I was light and lighter, and curiously my breath came so slow. “Until at last, one starry night beneath the desert moon, she surrendered to him. She allowed him to come to her, to make love to her. To unravel her…” It was happening. He sat next to her and bore witness to her change, her pulse slowing, her skin blanching, the fans of her lashes stark against the contours of her face. He kept his palm there against her chest, up and down with her respiration, and watched the smoke begin to curl around his fingers. “And by his hand, in the bliss of her unraveling, she touched the stars…” Lora’s breath hitched. Her heart skipped-then stopped. If I could take this from you, Jesse thought fiercely. If I could take this one moment away from you and keep the agony for myself- Her eyes opened, went instantly to his. Panic lit her gaze. Then she was gone. His fingers sank to the floor through her empty blouse, and the blue dragon smoke that was all of Eleanore Jones rose into strands above him.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
It was Day Three, Freshman Year, and I was a little bit lost in the school library,looking for a bathroom that wasn't full of blindingly shiny sophomores checking their lip gloss. Day Three.Already pretty clear on the fact that I would be using secondary bathrooms for at least the next three years,until being a senior could pass for confidence.For the moment, I knew no one,and was too shy to talk to anyone. So that first sight of Edward: pale hair that looked like he'd just run his hands through it, paint-smeared white shirt,a half smile that was half wicked,and I was hooked. Since, "Hi,I'm Ella.You look like someone I'd like to spend the rest of my life with," would have been totally insane, I opted for sitting quietly and staring.Until the bell rang and I had to rush to French class,completely forgetting to pee. Edward Willing.Once I knew his name, the rest was easy.After all,we're living in the age of information. Wikipedia, iPhones, 4G ntworks, social networking that you can do from a thousand miles away.The upshot being that at any given time over the next two years, I could sit twenty feet from him in the library, not saying a word, and learn a lot about him.ENough, anyway, for me to become completely convinced that the Love at First Sight hadn't been a fluke. It's pretty simple.Edward matched four and a half of my If My Prince Does, In Fact, Come Someday,It Would Be Great If He Could Meet These Five Criteria. 1. Interested in art. For me, it's charcoal. For Edward, oil paint and bronze. That's almost enough right there. Nice lips + artist= Ella's prince. 2. Not afraid of love. He wrote, "Love is one of two things worth dying for.I have yet to decide on the second." 3.Or of telling the truth. "How can I believe that other people say if I lie to them?" 4.Hot. Why not?I can dream. 5.Daring. Mountain climbing, cliff dying, defying the parents. Him, not me. I'm terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including heights, convertibles, moths, and those comedians everyone loves who stand onstage and yell insults at the audience. 5, subsection a. Daring enough to take a chance on me.Of course, in the end, that No. 5a is the biggie. And the problem. No matter how muuch I worshipped him,no matter how good a pair we might have been,it was never, ever going to happen. To be fair to Edward,it's not like he was given an opportunity to get to know me. I'm not stupid.I know there are a few basic truths when it comes to boys and me. Truth: You have to talk to a boy-really talk,if you want him to see past the fact that you're not beautiful. Truth: I'm not beautiful. Or much of a conversationalist. Truth: I'm not entirely sure that the stuff behind the not-beautiful is going to be all that alluring, either. And one written-in-stone, heartbreaking truth about this guy. Truth:Edward Willing died in 1916.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
Hypothetically, then, you may be picking up in someone a certain very strange type of sadness that appears as a kind of disassociation from itself, maybe, Love-o.’ ‘I don’t know disassociation.’ ‘Well, love, but you know the idiom “not yourself” — “He’s not himself today,” for example,’ crooking and uncrooking fingers to form quotes on either side of what she says, which Mario adores. ‘There are, apparently, persons who are deeply afraid of their own emotions, particularly the painful ones. Grief, regret, sadness. Sadness especially, perhaps. Dolores describes these persons as afraid of obliteration, emotional engulfment. As if something truly and thoroughly felt would have no end or bottom. Would become infinite and engulf them.’ ‘Engulf means obliterate.’ ‘I am saying that such persons usually have a very fragile sense of themselves as persons. As existing at all. This interpretation is “existential,” Mario, which means vague and slightly flaky. But I think it may hold true in certain cases. My own father told stories of his own father, whose potato farm had been in St. Pamphile and very much larger than my father’s. My grandfather had had a marvelous harvest one season, and he wanted to invest money. This was in the early 1920s, when there was a great deal of money to be made on upstart companies and new American products. He apparently narrowed the field to two choices — Delaware-brand Punch, or an obscure sweet fizzy coffee substitute that sold out of pharmacy soda fountains and was rumored to contain smidgeons of cocaine, which was the subject of much controversy in those days. My father’s father chose Delaware Punch, which apparently tasted like rancid cranberry juice, and the manufacturer of which folded. And then his next two potato harvests were decimated by blight, resulting in the forced sale of his farm. Coca-Cola is now Coca-Cola. My father said his father showed very little emotion or anger or sadness about this, though. That he somehow couldn’t. My father said his father was frozen, and could feel emotion only when he was drunk. He would apparently get drunk four times a year, weep about his life, throw my father through the living room window, and disappear for several days, roaming the countryside of L’Islet Province, drunk and enraged.’ She’s not been looking at Mario this whole time, though Mario’s been looking at her. She smiled. ‘My father, of course, could himself tell this story only when he was drunk. He never threw anyone through any windows. He simply sat in his chair, drinking ale and reading the newspaper, for hours, until he fell out of the chair. And then one day he fell out of the chair and didn’t get up again, and that was how your maternal grandfather passed away. I’d never have gotten to go to University had he not died when I was a girl. He believed education was a waste for girls. It was a function of his era; it wasn’t his fault. His inheritance to Charles and me paid for university.’ She’s been smiling pleasantly this whole time, emptying the butt from the ashtray into the wastebasket, wiping the bowl’s inside with a Kleenex, straightening straight piles of folders on her desk.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire."—We have received a kingdom that cannot be moved—whose nature is immovable: let us have grace to serve the Consuming Fire, our God, with divine fear; not with the fear that cringes and craves, but with the bowing down of all thoughts, all delights, all loves before him who is the life of them all, and will have them all pure. The kingdom he has given us cannot be moved, because it has nothing weak in it: it is of the eternal world, the world of being, of truth. We, therefore, must worship him with a fear pure as the kingdom is unshakeable. He will shake heaven and earth, that only the unshakeable may remain, (verse 27): he is a consuming fire, that only that which cannot be consumed may stand forth eternal. It is the nature of God, so terribly pure that it destroys all that is not pure as fire, which demands like purity in our worship. He will have purity. It is not that the fire will burn us if we do not worship thus; but that the fire will burn us until we worship thus; yea, will go on burning within us after all that is foreign to it has yielded to its force, no longer with pain and consuming, but as the highest consciousness of life, the presence of God. When evil, which alone is consumable, shall have passed away in his fire from the dwellers in the immovable kingdom, the nature of man shall look the nature of God in the face, and his fear shall then be pure; for an eternal, that is a holy fear, must spring from a knowledge of the nature, not from a sense of the power. But that which cannot be consumed must be one within itself, a simple existence; therefore in such a soul the fear towards God will be one with the homeliest love. Yea, the fear of God will cause a man to flee, not from him, but from himself; not from him, but to him, the Father of himself, in terror lest he should do Him wrong or his neighbour wrong. And the first words which follow for the setting forth of that grace whereby we may serve God acceptably are these—" Let brotherly love continue." To love our brother is to worship the Consuming Fire.
George MacDonald (Unspoken Sermons, Series I., II., and III.)
At that time, a number of myths were created by the young people of the smoking carriages and forests of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the hungry for the thirst of lysergic acid, who were too tired of the suffering they grew up in and needed to take refuge in dreams. In these children's universe there were unbelievable stories about places in the mountains that women sought to retreat to, places where people were united by music and love for a mutual spiritual growth. For Aunt Jeanine, who had grown up with the image of her father, an amputee due to the war, feeding on such stories was like a haven, one she would later try to turn into her home. And one of those stories, one particular one, stood in her memory until the last stage of her life, when she passed away at eighty-one, burned with fire. (...) At that time, kid, they said that if we searched enough, we would find a place where the world wouldn't end. Men would never know what hell of a place that was, totally unconquerable! A place where the dirty hands of men would never arrive. A place men would never know about . Don't you think I could find it? To have my body disappearing in the woods, as I saw happening to kids in Japan, in that forest that swallows them to its core. Flesh turned to powder, my essence disappearing in the middle of life. They said that, when you die at a place, you'll stay at that place forever. That was why everyone was afraid to go to war. They weren't afraid of dying, kid, they were afraid of dying there.
Pat R (Os Homens Nunca Saberão Nada Disto)
Let us see to it that the recollection of those whom we have lost becomes a pleasant memory to us. No man reverts with pleasure to any subject which he will not be able to reflect upon without pain. So too it cannot but be that the names of those whom we have loved and lost come back to us with a sort of sting; but there is a pleasure even in this sting. 5. For, as my friend Attalus used to say: “The remembrance of lost friends is pleasant in the same way that certain fruits have an agreeably acid taste, or as in extremely old wines it is their very bitterness that pleases us. Indeed, after a certain lapse of time, every thought that gave pain is quenched, and the pleasure comes to us unalloyed.” 6. If we take the word of Attalus for it, “to think of friends who are alive and well is like enjoying a meal of cakes and honey; the recollection of friends who have passed away gives a pleasure that is not without a touch of bitterness. Yet who will deny that even these things, which are bitter and contain an element of sourness, do serve to arouse the stomach?” 7. For my part, I do not agree with him. To me, the thought of my dead friends is sweet and appealing. For I have had them as if I should one day lose them; I have lost them as if I have them still. Therefore, Lucilius, act as befits your own serenity of mind, and cease to put a wrong interpretation on the gifts of Fortune. Fortune has taken away, but Fortune has given. 8. Let us greedily enjoy our friends, because we do not know how long this privilege will be ours.
Seneca (Complete Works of Seneca the Younger)
At a talk I gave at a church months later, I spoke about Charlie and the plight of incarcerated children. Afterward, an older married couple approached me and insisted that they had to help Charlie. I tried to dissuade these kind people from thinking they could do anything, but I gave them my card and told them they could call me. I didn't expect to hear from them, but within days they called, and they were persistent. We eventually agreed that they would write a letter to Charlie and send it to me to pass on to him. When I received the letter weeks later, I read it. It was remarkable. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings were a white couple in their mid-seventies from a small community northeast of Birmingham. They were kind and generous people who were active in their local United Methodist church. They never missed a Sunday service and were especially drawn to children in crisis. They spoke softly and always seemed to be smiling but never appeared to be anything less than completely genuine and compassionate. They were affectionate with each other in a way that was endearing, frequently holding hands and leaning into each other. They dressed like farmers and owned ten acres of land, where they grew vegetables and lived simply. Their one and only grandchild, whom they had helped raise, had committed suicide when he was a teenager, and they had never stopped grieving for him. Their grandson struggled with mental health problems during his short life, but he was a smart kid and they had been putting money away to send him to college. They explained in their letter that they wanted to use the money they'd saved for their grandson to help Charlie. Eventually, Charlie and this couple began corresponding with one another, building up to the day when the Jenningses met Charlie at the juvenile detention facility. They later told me that they "loved him instantly." Charlie's grandmother had died a few months after she first called me, and his mother was still struggling after the tragedy of the shooting and Charlie's incarceration. Charlie had been apprehensive about meeting with the Jenningses because he thought they wouldn't like him, but he told me after they left how much they seemed to care about him and how comforting that was. The Jenningses became his family. At one point early on, I tried to caution them against expecting too much from Charlie after his release. 'You know, he's been through a lot. I'm not sure he can just carry on as if nothing has ever happened. I want you to understand he may not be able to do everything you'd like him to do.' They never accepted my warnings. Mrs. Jennings was rarely disagreeable or argumentative, but I had learned that she would grunt when someone said something she didn't completely accept. She told me, 'We've all been through a lot, Bryan, all of us. I know that some have been through more than others. But if we don't expect more from each other, hope better for one another, and recover from the hurt we experience, we are surely doomed.' The Jenningses helped Charlie get his general equivalency degree in detention and insisted on financing his college education. They were there, along with his mother, to take him home when he was released.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy)
Where were you yesterday?" "Yesterday? Where was I-let me see...." "I thought you took a powder." "Me? How could that be?" "You mean, you wouldn't run out on me?" Run out on fragrant, sexual, high-minded Ramona? Never in a million years. Ramona had passed through the hell of profligacy and attained the seriousness of pleasure. For when will we civilized beings become really serious? said Kierkegaard. Only when we have known hell through and through. Without this, hedonism and frivolity will diffuse hell through all our days. Ramona, however, does not believe in any sin but the sin against the body, for her the true and only temple of the spirit. "But you did leave town yesterday," said Ramona. "How do you know-are you having me tailed by a private eye?" "Miss Schwartz saw you in Grand Central with a valise in your hand." "Who? Ramona said, "Perhaps some lovely woman scared you on the train, and you turned back to your Ramona." "Oh..." said Herzog. Her theme was her power to make him happy. Thinking of Ramona with her intoxicating eyes and robust breasts, her short but gentle legs, her Carmen airs, thievishly seductive, her skill in the sack (defeating invisible rivals), he felt she did not exaggerate. The facts supported her claim. "Well, were you running away?" she said. "Why should I? You're a marvelous woman, Ramona." "In that case you're being very odd, Moses." "Well, I suppose I am one of the odder beasts." "But I know better than to be proud and demanding.” “Life has taught me to be humble." Moses shut his eyes and raised his brows. Here we go. "Perhaps you feel a natural superiority because of your education." "Education! But I don't know anything..." "Your accomplishments. You're in Who's Who. I'm only a merchant-a petit-bourgeois type." "You don't really believe this. Ramona." "Then why do you keep aloof, and make me chase you? I realize you want to play the field. After great disappointments, I've done it myself, for ego-reinforcement." "A high-minded intellectual ninny, square ..." "Who?" "Myself, I mean." She went on. "But as one recovers self-confidence, one learns the simple strength of simple desires.” “Please, Ramona, Moses wanted to say-you're lovely, fragrant, sexual, good to touch-everything. Ramona paused, and Herzog said, "It's true-I have a lot to learn.” Excerpt From: Bellow, Saul. “Herzog.” iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.
Saul Bellow (Herzog)
I have been so great a lover: filled my days So proudly with the splendour of Love's praise, The pain, the calm, and the astonishment, Desire illimitable, and still content, And all dear names men use, to cheat despair, For the perplexed and viewless streams that bear Our hearts at random down the dark of life. Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far, My night shall be remembered for a star That outshone all the suns of all men's days. Shall I not crown them with immortal praise Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see The inenarrable godhead of delight? Love is a flame; -- we have beaconed the world's night. A city: -- and we have built it, these and I. An emperor: -- we have taught the world to die. So, for their sakes I loved, ere I go hence, And the high cause of Love's magnificence, And to keep loyalties young, I'll write those names Golden for ever, eagles, crying flames, And set them as a banner, that men may know, To dare the generations, burn, and blow Out on the wind of Time, shining and streaming.... These I have loved: White plates and cups, clean-gleaming, Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust; Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food; Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood; And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers; And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours, Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon; Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen Unpassioned beauty of a great machine; The benison of hot water; furs to touch; The good smell of old clothes; and other such -- The comfortable smell of friendly fingers, Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers About dead leaves and last year's ferns.... Dear names, And thousand other throng to me! Royal flames; Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring; Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing; Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain, Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train; Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home; And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould; Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew; And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new; And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass; -- All these have been my loves. And these shall pass, Whatever passes not, in the great hour, Nor all my passion, all my prayers, have power To hold them with me through the gate of Death. They'll play deserter, turn with the traitor breath, Break the high bond we made, and sell Love's trust And sacramented covenant to the dust. ---- Oh, never a doubt but, somewhere, I shall wake, And give what's left of love again, and make New friends, now strangers.... But the best I've known, Stays here, and changes, breaks, grows old, is blown About the winds of the world, and fades from brains Of living men, and dies. Nothing remains. O dear my loves, O faithless, once again This one last gift I give: that after men Shall know, and later lovers, far-removed, Praise you, "All these were lovely"; say, "He loved.
Rupert Brooke
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. ….. Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator: Il grande dittatore di Charlie Chaplin)
There’s a story that comes from the tradition of the Desert Fathers, an order of Christian monks who lived in the wastelands of Egypt about seventeen hundred years ago. In the tale, a couple of monks named Theodore and Lucius shared the acute desire to go out and see the world. Since they’d made vows of contemplation, however, this was not something they were allowed to do. So, to satiate their wanderlust, Theodore and Lucius learned to “mock their temptations” by relegating their travels to the future. When the summertime came, they said to each other, “We will leave in the winter.” When the winter came, they said, “We will leave in the summer.” They went on like this for over fifty years, never once leaving the monastery or breaking their vows. Most of us, of course, have never taken such vows—but we choose to live like monks anyway, rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present. In this way, we end up spending (as Thoreau put it) “the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.” We’d love to drop all and explore the world outside, we tell ourselves, but the time never seems right. Thus, given an unlimited amount of choices, we make none. Settling into our lives, we get so obsessed with holding on to our domestic certainties that we forget why we desired them in the first place. Vagabonding is about gaining the courage to loosen your grip on the so-called certainties of this world. Vagabonding is about refusing to exile travel to some other, seemingly more appropriate, time of your life. Vagabonding is about taking control of your circumstances instead of passively waiting for them to decide your fate. Thus, the question of how and when to start vagabonding is not really a question at all. Vagabonding starts now. Even if the practical reality of travel is still months or years away, vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money, and begin to look at maps with the narcotic tingle of possibility. From here, the reality of vagabonding comes into sharper focus as you adjust your worldview and begin to embrace the exhilarating uncertainty that true travel promises. In this way, vagabonding is not a merely a ritual of getting immunizations and packing suitcases. Rather, it’s the ongoing practice of looking and learning, of facing fears and altering habits, of cultivating a new fascination with people and places. This attitude is not something you can pick up at the airport counter with your boarding pass; it’s a process that starts at home. It’s a process by which you first test the waters that will pull you to wonderful new places.
Rolf Potts (Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel)
The thing I remember from the Letters Page in those antique days was the way the OBs signed off. There was Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant. But the ones I always looked for - and which I took to be the true sign of an Old Bastard - simply ended like this: Yours etc. And then the newspaper drew even more attention to the sign-off by printing it: Yours &c. Yours &c. I used to muse about that. What did it mean? Where did it come from? I imagined some bespatted captain of industry dictating his OB’s views to his secretary for transmission to the Newspaper of Record which he doubtless referred to with jocund familiarity as ‘The Thunderer’. When his oratorical belch was complete, he would say ‘Yours, etc,’ which Miss ffffffolkes would automatically transcribe into, ‘I have the honour to be, sir, one of the distinguished Old Bastards who could send you the label off a tin of pilchards and you would still print it above this my name,’ or whatever, and then it would be, ‘Despatch this instanter to The Thunderer, Miss ffffffolkes.’ But one day Miss ffffffolkes was away giving a handjob to the Archbishop of York, so they sent a temp. And the temp wrote Yours, etc, just as she heard it and The Times reckoned the OB captain a very gusher of wit, but decided to add their own little rococo touch by compacting it further to &c., whereupon other OBs followed the bespatted lead of the captain of industry, who claimed all the credit for himself. There we have it: Yours &c. Whereupon, as an ardent damp-ear of sixteen, I took to the parodic sign-off: Love, &c. Not all my correspondents unfailingly seized the reference, I regret to say. One demoiselle hastened her own de-accessioning from the museum of my heart by informing me with hauteur that use of the word etc., whether in oral communication or in carven prose, was common and vulgar. To which I replied, first, that ‘the word’ et cetera was not one but two words, and that the only common and vulgar thing about my letter - given the identity of its recipient - was affixing to it the word that preceded etc. Alack, she didn’t respond to this observation with the Buddhistic serenity one might have hoped. Love, etc. The proposition is simple. The world divides into two categories: those who believe that the purpose, the function, the bass pedal and principal melody of life is love, and that anything else - everything else - is merely an etc.; and those, those unhappy many, who believe primarily in the etc. of life, for whom love, however agreeable, is but a passing flurry of youth, the pattering prelude to nappy-duty, but not something as solid, steadfast and reliable as, say, home decoration. This is the only division between people that counts.
Julian Barnes (Talking It Over)
In the land of Uz, there lived a man, righteous and God-fearing, and he had great wealth, so many camels, so many sheep and asses, and his children feasted, and he loved them very much and prayed for them. 'It may be that my sons have sinned in their feasting.' Now the devil came before the Lord together with the sons of God, and said to the Lord that he had gone up and down the earth and under the earth. 'And hast thou considered my servant Job?' God asked of him. And God boasted to the devil, pointing to his great and holy servant. And the devil laughed at God's words. 'Give him over to me and Thou wilt see that Thy servant will murmur against Thee and curse Thy name.' And God gave up the just man He loved so, to the devil. And the devil smote his children and his cattle and scattered his wealth, all of a sudden like a thunderbolt from heaven. And Job rent his mantel and fell down upon the ground and cried aloud, 'Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return into the earth; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever.' Fathers and teachers, forgive my tears now, for all my childhood rises up again before me, and I breathe now as I breathed then, with the breast of a little child of eight, and I feel as I did then, awe and wonder and gladness. The camels at that time caught my imagination, and Satan, who talked like that with God, and God who gave His servant up to destruction, and His servant crying out: 'Blessed be Thy name although Thou dost punish me,' and then the soft and sweet singing in the church: 'Let my prayer rise up before Thee,' and again incense from the priest's censer and the kneeling and the prayer. Ever since then - only yesterday I took it up - I've never been able to read that sacred tale without tears. And how much that is great, mysterious and unfathomable there is in it! Afterwards I heard the words of mockery and blame, proud words, 'How could God give up the most loved of His saints for the diversion of the devil, take from him his children, smite him with sore boils so that he cleansed the corruption from his sores with a pot-sherd - and for no object except to board to the devil! 'See what My saint can suffer for My Sake.' ' But the greatness of it lies just in the fact that it is a mystery - that the passing earthly show and the eternal verity are brought together in it. In the face of the earthly truth, the eternal truth is accomplished. The Creator, just as on the first days of creation He ended each day with praise: 'That is good that I have created,' looks upon Job and again praises His creation. And Job, praising the Lord, serves not only Him but all His creation for generations and generations, and for ever and ever, since for that he was ordained. Good heavens, what a book it is, and what lessons there are in it! What a book the Bible is, what a miracle, what strength is given with it to man! It is like a mold cast of the world and man and human nature, everything is there, and a law for everything for all the ages. And what mysteries are solved and revealed! God raises Job again, gives him wealth again. Many years pass by, and he has other children and loves them. But how could he love those new ones when those first children are no more, when he has lost them? Remembering them, how could he be fully happy with those new ones, however dear the new ones might be? But he could, he could. It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising such each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft, tender, gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long, happy life - and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I never meant to bring all of it upon you. Surely you understand that. I have loved you and admired you all my life. You are the only true hero I have. I owe you everything.' Lizzie reached out and stripped leaves off a twig. 'You always wanted to do something big. Something important.' 'Is that such a terrible thing? You're the one who told me once that the world can't forgive ambition in a woman.' 'I never got to find out. My ambitions never seemed to figure into things. You were away at the university when Mother got sick, so it fell to Jessie and me. And you were already married by the time Jessie passed. Your life was set. Suddenly there was a niece to raise, and then...' Lizzie paused. ' Then you had your personality to go discover.' She tossed away a fistful of leaves. 'You had everything. You had a wonderful man who adored you, beautiful healthy children. Freedom. No money worries. A nanny and a housekeeper. You didn't have to work, and Edwin never asked a thing of you. Do you realize what you gave up for Frank Wright? The kind of life most women-- most feminists-- dream of.
Nancy Horan (Loving Frank)
And now, for the first time, the Lion was quite silent. He was going to and fro among the animals. And every now and then he would go up to two of them (always two at a time) and touch their noses with his. He would touch two beavers among all the beavers, two leopards among all the leopards, one stag and one deer among all the deer, and leave the rest. Some sorts of animal he passed over altogether. But the pairs which he had touched instantly left their own kinds and followed him. At last he stood still and all the creatures whom he had touched came and stood in a wide circle around him. The others whom he had not touched began to wander away. Their noises faded gradually into the distance. The chosen beasts who remained were now utterly silent, all with their eyes fixed intently upon the Lion. The cat-like ones gave an occasional twitch of the tail but otherwise all were still. For the first time that day there was complete silence, except for the noise of running water. Digory’s heart beat wildly; he knew something very solemn was going to be done. He had not forgotten about his Mother, but he knew jolly well that, even for her, he couldn’t interrupt a thing like this. The Lion, whose eyes never blinked, stared at the animals as hard as if he was going to burn them up with his mere stare. And gradually a change came over them. The smaller ones—the rabbits, moles, and such-like—grew a good deal larger. The very big ones—you noticed it most with the elephants—grew a little smaller. Many animals sat up on their hind legs. Most put their heads on one side as if they were trying very hard to understand. The Lion opened his mouth, but no sound came from it; he was breathing out, a long, warm breath; it seemed to sway all the beasts as the wind sways a line of trees. Far overhead from beyond the veil of blue sky which hid them the stars sang again; a pure, cold, difficult music. Then there came a swift flash like fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children’s bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying: “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection: The Classic Fantasy Adventure Series (Official Edition))
Who is Mr. Jasper?" Rosa turned aside her head in answering: "Eddy's uncle, and my music-master." "You do not love him?" "Ugh!" She put her hands up to her face, and shook with fear or horror. "You know that he loves you?" "O, don't, don't, don't!" cried Rosa, dropping on her knees, and clinging to her new resource. "Don't tell me of it! He terrifies me. He haunts my thoughts, like a dreadful ghost. I feel that I am never safe from him. I feel as if he could pass in through the wall when he is spoken of." She actually did look round, as if she dreaded to see him standing in the shadow behind her. "Try to tell me more about it, darling." "Yes, I will, I will. Because you are so strong. But hold me the while, and stay with me afterwards." "My child! You speak as if he had threatened you in some dark way." "He has never spoken to me about - that. Never." "What has he done?" "He has made a slave of me with his looks. He has forced me to understand him, without his saying a word; and he has forced me to keep silence, without his uttering a threat. When I play, he never moves his eyes from my hands. When I sing, he never moves his eyes from my lips. When he corrects me, and strikes a note, or a chord, or plays a passage, he himself is in the sounds, whispering that he pursues me as a lover, and commanding me to keep his secret. I avoid his eyes, but he forces me to see them without looking at them. Even when a glaze comes over them (which is sometimes the case), and he seems to wander away into a frightful sort of dream in which he threatens most, he obliges me to know it, and to know that he is sitting close at my side, more terrible to me than ever." "What is this imagined threatening, pretty one? What is threatened?" "I don't know. I have never even dared to think or wonder what it is." "And was this all, to-night?" "This was all; except that to-night when he watched my lips so closely as I was singing, besides feeling terrified I felt ashamed and passionately hurt. It was as if he kissed me, and I couldn't bear it, but cried out. You must never breathe this to any one. Eddy is devoted to him. But you said to-night that you would not be afraid of him, under any circumstances, and that gives me - who am so much afraid of him - courage to tell only you. Hold me! Stay with me! I am too frightened to be left by myself.
Charles Dickens (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets, lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers’ shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway, and taking off the covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled with each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was! God love it, so it was! In time the bells ceased, and the bakers’ were shut up; and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking, in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven; where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too. “Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?” asked Scrooge. “There is. My own.” “Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?” asked Scrooge. “To any kindly given. To a poor one most.” “Why to a poor one most?” asked Scrooge. “Because it needs it most.” “Spirit,” said Scrooge, after a moments thought, “I wonder you, of all the beings in the many worlds about us, should desire to cramp these peoples opportunities of innocent enjoyment.” “I!” cried the Spirit. “You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day, often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all,” said Scrooge. “Wouldn’t you?” “I!” cried the Spirit. “You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day?” said Scrooge. “And it comes to the same thing.” “I seek!” exclaimed the Spirit. “Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been done in your name, or at least in that of your family,” said Scrooge. “There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry* and selfishness in our name; who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
It’s nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people, for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on. The pears they let hang on the limb because if they plucked them, they would be gone from there and who else would see that ripeness if they took it away for themselves? How could anybody passing by see them and imagine for themselves what the flavor would be like? Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together nevermind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher’s palm asking for witnesses in His name’s sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love. They are under the covers because they don’t have to look at themselves anymore; there is no stud’s eye, no chippie glance to undo them. They are inward toward the other, bound and joined by carnival dolls and the steamers that sailed from ports they never saw. That is what is beneath their undercover whispers. But there is another part, not so secret. The part that touches fingers when one passes the cup and saucer to the other. The part that closes her neckline snap while waiting for the trolley; and brushes lint from his blue serge suit when they come out of the movie house into the sunlight. I envy them their public love. I myself have only known it in secret, shared it in secret and longed, aw longed to show it—to be able to say out loud what they have no need to say at all: That I have loved only you, surrendered my whole self reckless to you and nobody else. That I want you to love me back and show it to me. That I love the way you hold me, how close you let me be to you. I like your fingers on and on, lifting, turning. I have watched your face for a long time now, and missed your eyes when you went away from me. Talking to you and hearing you answer —that’s the kick. But I can’t say that aloud; I can’t tell anyone that I have been waiting for this all my life and that being chosen to wait is the reason I can. If I were able I’d say it. Say make me, remake me. You are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look. Look where your hands are. Now.
Toni Morrison (Jazz (Beloved Trilogy, #2))
But I don't know anyone who has an easy life forever. Everyone I know gets their heart broken sometime, by something. The question is not, will my life be easy or will my heart break? But rather, when my heart breaks, will I choose to grow? Sometimes in the moments of the most searing pain, we think we don't have a choice. But we do. It's in those moments that we make the most important choice: grow or give up. It's easy to want to give up under the weight of what we're carrying. It seems sometimes like the only possible choice. But there's always, always, always another choice, and transformation is waiting for us just beyond that choice. This is what I know: God can make something beautiful out of anything, out of darkness and trash and broken bones. He can shine light into even the blackest night, and he leaves glimpses of hope all around us. An oyster, a sliver of moon, one new bud on a black branch, a perfect tender shoot of asparagus, fighting up through the dirt for the spring sun. New life and new beauty are all around us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be seen. I'm coming to think there are at least two kinds of pain. There's the anxiety and fear I felt when we couldn't sell our house. And then there's the sadness I felt when I lost the baby or when my grandma passed away. Very different kinds of pain. The first kind, I think, is the king that invites us to grow. The second kind is the kind that invites us to mourn. God's not trying to teach me a lesson through my grandma's death. I wasn't supposed to love her less so the loss hurt less acutely, I'm not supposed to feel less strongly about the horror of death and dying. When we lose someone we love, when a dear friend moves away, when illness invades, it's right to mourn. It's right to feel deep, wrenching sadness. But then there's the other kind of pain, that first kind. My friend Brian says that the heart of all human conflict is the phrase "I'm not getting what I want." When you're totally honest about the pain, what's at the center? Could it be that you're not getting what you want? You're getting an invitation to grow, I think, as unwelcome as it may be. It's sloppy theology to think that all suffering is good for us, or that it's a result of sin. All suffering can be used for good, over time, after mourning and healing, by God's graciousness. But sometimes it's just plain loss, not because you needed to grow, not because life or God or anything is teaching you any kind of lesson. The trick is knowing the difference between the two.
Shauna Niequist
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning BY JOHN DONNE As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say The breath goes now, and some say, No: So let us melt, and make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; 'Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears, Men reckon what it did, and meant; But trepidation of the spheres, Though greater far, is innocent. Dull sublunary lovers' love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things which elemented it. But we by a love so much refined, That our selves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind, Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss. Our two souls therefore, which are one, Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion, Like gold to airy thinness beat. If they be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two; Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if the other do. And though it in the center sit, Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must, Like th' other foot, obliquely run; Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end where I begun.
John Donne
Monday, January 26 Be Strong and Courageous “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them! For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” DEUTERONOMY 31:6 NLT In The Horse and His Boy, one of the books in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, we see a beautiful picture of how the Lord gives us strength and courage to do His will. The boy, Shasta, runs away from home. Along the way he meets up with a talking horse from Narnia and a nobly born girl, Aravis, with her talking horse. They decide to take their horses to Narnia, but their plans fall apart when they have to go through the Calormene capitol city, Tashbaan. Several times as they travel, they are chased by lions, harassed by cats, and generally persecuted by various members of the cat family. Finally, on one particularly dark night, Shasta crosses over a mountain pass alone. In the dark and fog Shasta senses rather than sees a creature walking along beside him. And he’s terrified. Later, when he meets Aslan, Shasta learns that all the cats were Aslan, guiding them, pushing them, and yes, terrifying them into doing what they needed to do. Aslan was also his protector as he crossed the steep and dangerous mountain pass in the dark. Shasta is angry until he realizes that Aslan did everything out of love, even hurting Aravis when her pride was keeping them from the mission they’d been given. Father, thank You for the beautiful picture of Your protection and courage to those who are Yours.
Various (Daily Wisdom for Women 2015 Devotional Collection - January (None))
Mom,” Vaughn said. “I’m sure Sidney doesn’t want to be interrogated about her personal life.” Deep down, Sidney knew that Vaughn—who’d obviously deduced that she’d been burned in the past—was only trying to be polite. But that was the problem, she didn’t want him to be polite, as if she needed to be shielded from such questions. That wasn’t any better than the damn “Poor Sidney” head-tilt. “It’s okay, I don’t mind answering.” She turned to Kathleen. “I was seeing someone in New York, but that relationship ended shortly before I moved to Chicago.” “So now that you’re single again, what kind of man are you looking for? Vaughn?” Kathleen pointed. “Could you pass the creamer?” He did so, then turned to look once again at Sidney. His lips curved at the corners, the barest hint of a smile. He was daring her, she knew, waiting for her to back away from his mother’s questions. She never had been very good at resisting his dares. “Actually, I have a list of things I’m looking for.” Sidney took a sip of her coffee. Vaughn raised an eyebrow. “You have a list?” “Yep.” “Of course you do.” Isabelle looked over, surprised. “You never told me about this.” “What kind of list?” Kathleen asked interestedly. “It’s a test, really,” Sidney said. “A list of characteristics that indicate whether a man is ready for a serious relationship. It helps weed out the commitment-phobic guys, the womanizers, and any other bad apples, so a woman can focus on the candidates with more long-term potential.” Vaughn rolled his eyes. “And now I’ve heard it all.” “Where did you find this list?” Simon asked. “Is this something all women know about?” “Why? Worried you won’t pass muster?” Isabelle winked at him. “I did some research,” Sidney said. “Pulled it together after reading several articles online.” “Lists, tests, research, online dating, speed dating—I can’t keep up with all these things you kids are doing,” Adam said, from the head of the table. “Whatever happened to the days when you’d see a girl at a restaurant or a coffee shop and just walk over and say hello?” Vaughn turned to Sidney, his smile devilish. “Yes, whatever happened to those days, Sidney?” She threw him a look. Don’t be cute. “You know what they say—it’s a jungle out there. Nowadays a woman has to make quick decisions about whether a man is up to par.” She shook her head mock reluctantly. “Sadly, some guys just won’t make the cut.” “But all it takes is one,” Isabelle said, with a loving smile at her fiancé. Simon slid his hand across the table, covering hers affectionately. “The right one.” Until he nails his personal trainer. Sidney took another sip of her coffee, holding back the cynical comment. She didn’t want to spoil Isabelle and Simon’s idyllic all-you-need-is-love glow. Vaughn cocked his head, looking at the happy couple. “Aw, aren’t you two just so . . . cheesy.” Kathleen shushed him. “Don’t tease your brother.” “What? Any moment, I’m expecting birds and little woodland animals to come in here and start singing songs about true love, they’re so adorable.” Sidney laughed out loud. Quickly, she bit her lip to cover.
Julie James (It Happened One Wedding (FBI/US Attorney, #5))
Hear that? Living skulls! What are we doing here? What war at Troy? Does anyone care? Gods of love and hate! Aren't they the same god? All of us, all our lives, searching for the one perfect enemy- you, me, Helen, Paris, Menelaos, all those crazy Greeks! all those hapless Trojans! my dear beloved Jack! Jack and I fought all the time. I remember almost nothing but the fights - every fight a war to end all wars, you know how it goes, a righteous war, a final war, the worst fight you've ever had, you can't do this again, this time you'll get things straight one way or the other or it's over, he'll see what you mean, see you're right, fights aren't about anything except being right, are they? once and for all. You feel old. Wrong. Clumsy. You sit in two chairs on the porch. Or the kitchen. Or the front hall. Hell arrives. It's as if the war was already there, waiting, the two of you poured into it like wet concrete. The chairs you sit in are the wrong chairs, they're the chairs you never sit in because they're so uncomfortable, you keep thinking you should move but you don't, your neck hurts, you hate your neck, evening closes in. Birds move about the yard. Hell yawns. War pours out of both of you, steaming and stinking. You rush backward from it and become children, every still sentence slamming you back into the child you still are, every sentence not what you meant to say at all but the meaning keeps flaring and contracting, as sparks drop on gasoline, Fuckshit this! Fuckshit that! no reason to live. You're getting vertigo. He's being despicable. Your mother was like this. Stop whimpering. No use asking, What is this about? Don't leave the room. I have to leave the room. Breathless, blaming, I'm not blaming! How is this not blaming! Hours pass or do they. You say the same things or are they different things? Hell smells stale. Fights aren't about anything, fights are about themselves. You're stiff. You hate these chairs. Nothing is resolved. It is too dark to see. You both go to bed and doze slightly, touching slightly. In the night a nightmare. Some giant bird, or insect, some flapping thing, trying to settle on the back of your neck, you can't see what it is or get it off. Pure fear. Scream unearthly. He jerks you awake. Oh sweetie, he says. He is using his inside voice, his most inside voice. The distance between that voice and the fight voice measures your whole world. How can a voice change so. You are saved. He has saved you. He sees you saved. An easement occurs, as night dew on leaves. And yet (you think suddenly) you yourself do not possess sort of inside voice - no wonder he's lonely. You this cannot offer this refuge, cannot save him, not ever, and, although physiological in origin, or genetic, or who knows, you understand the lack is felt by him as a turning away. No one can heal this. You both decide without words to just - skip it. You grip one another. In the night, in the silence, the grip slowly loosens and silence washes you out somewhere onto a shore of sleep. Morning arrives. Troy is still there. You hear from below the clatter of everyone putting on their armour. You go to the window.
Anne Carson (Norma Jeane Baker of Troy)
Ione I. AH, yes, 't is sweet still to remember, Though 't were less painful to forget; For while my heart glows like an ember, Mine eyes with sorrow's drops are wet, And, oh, my heart is aching yet. It is a law of mortal pain That old wounds, long accounted well, Beneath the memory's potent spell, Will wake to life and bleed again. So 't is with me; it might be better If I should turn no look behind, — If I could curb my heart, and fetter From reminiscent gaze my mind, Or let my soul go blind — go blind! But would I do it if I could? Nay! ease at such a price were spurned; For, since my love was once returned, All that I suffer seemeth good. I know, I know it is the fashion, When love has left some heart distressed, To weight the air with wordful passion; But I am glad that in my breast I ever held so dear a guest. Love does not come at every nod, Or every voice that calleth 'hasten;' He seeketh out some heart to chasten, And whips it, wailing, up to God! Love is no random road wayfarer Who Where he may must sip his glass. Love is the King, the Purple-Wearer, Whose guard recks not of tree or grass To blaze the way that he may pass. What if my heart be in the blast That heralds his triumphant way; Shall I repine, shall I not say: 'Rejoice, my heart, the King has passed!' In life, each heart holds some sad story — The saddest ones are never told. I, too, have dreamed of fame and glory, And viewed the future bright with gold; But that is as a tale long told. Mine eyes have lost their youthful flash, My cunning hand has lost its art; I am not old, but in my heart The ember lies beneath the ash. I loved! Why not? My heart was youthful, My mind was filled with healthy thought. He doubts not whose own self is truthful, Doubt by dishonesty is taught; So loved! boldly, fearing naught. I did not walk this lowly earth; Mine was a newer, higher sphere, Where youth was long and life was dear, And all save love was little worth. Her likeness! Would that I might limn it, As Love did, with enduring art; Nor dust of days nor death may dim it, Where it lies graven on my heart, Of this sad fabric of my life a part. I would that I might paint her now As I beheld her in that day, Ere her first bloom had passed away, And left the lines upon her brow. A face serene that, beaming brightly, Disarmed the hot sun's glances bold. A foot that kissed the ground so lightly, He frowned in wrath and deemed her cold, But loved her still though he was old. A form where every maiden grace Bloomed to perfection's richest flower, — The statued pose of conscious power, Like lithe-limbed Dian's of the chase. Beneath a brow too fair for frowning, Like moon-lit deeps that glass the skies Till all the hosts above seem drowning, Looked forth her steadfast hazel eyes, With gaze serene and purely wise. And over all, her tresses rare, Which, when, with his desire grown weak, The Night bent down to kiss her cheek, Entrapped and held him captive there. This was Ione; a spirit finer Ne'er burned to ash its house of clay; A soul instinct with fire diviner Ne'er fled athwart the face of day, And tempted Time with earthly stay. Her loveliness was not alone Of face and form and tresses' hue; For aye a pure, high soul shone through Her every act: this was Ione.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
The chorus of criticism culminated in a May 27 White House press conference that had me fielding tough questions on the oil spill for about an hour. I methodically listed everything we'd done since the Deepwater had exploded, and I described the technical intricacies of the various strategies being employed to cap the well. I acknowledged problems with MMS, as well as my own excessive confidence in the ability of companies like BP to safeguard against risk. I announced the formation of a national commission to review the disaster and figure out how such accidents could be prevented in the future, and I reemphasized the need for a long-term response that would make America less reliant on dirty fossil fuels. Reading the transcript now, a decade later, I'm struck by how calm and cogent I sound. Maybe I'm surprised because the transcript doesn't register what I remember feeling at the time or come close to capturing what I really wanted to say before the assembled White House press corps: That MMS wasn't fully equipped to do its job, in large part because for the past thirty years a big chunk of American voters had bought into the Republican idea that government was the problem and that business always knew better, and had elected leaders who made it their mission to gut environmental regulations, starve agency budgets, denigrate civil servants, and allow industrial polluters do whatever the hell they wanted to do. That the government didn't have better technology than BP did to quickly plug the hole because it would be expensive to have such technology on hand, and we Americans didn't like paying higher taxes - especially when it was to prepare for problems that hadn't happened yet. That it was hard to take seriously any criticism from a character like Bobby Jindal, who'd done Big Oil's bidding throughout his career and would go on to support an oil industry lawsuit trying to get a federal court to lift our temporary drilling moratorium; and that if he and other Gulf-elected officials were truly concerned about the well-being of their constituents, they'd be urging their party to stop denying the effects of climate change, since it was precisely the people of the Gulf who were the most likely to lose homes or jobs as a result of rising global temperatures. And that the only way to truly guarantee that we didn't have another catastrophic oil spill in the future was to stop drilling entirely; but that wasn't going to happen because at the end of the day we Americans loved our cheap gas and big cars more than we cared about the environment, except when a complete disaster was staring us in the face; and in the absence of such a disaster, the media rarely covered efforts to shift America off fossil fuels or pass climate legislation, since actually educating the public on long-term energy policy would be boring and bad for ratings; and the one thing I could be certain of was that for all the outrage being expressed at the moment about wetlands and sea turtles and pelicans, what the majority of us were really interested in was having the problem go away, for me to clean up yet one more mess decades in the making with some quick and easy fix, so that we could all go back to our carbon-spewing, energy-wasting ways without having to feel guilty about it. I didn't say any of that. Instead I somberly took responsibility and said it was my job to "get this fixed." Afterward, I scolded my press team, suggesting that if they'd done better work telling the story of everything we were doing to clean up the spill, I wouldn't have had to tap-dance for an hour while getting the crap kicked out of me. My press folks looked wounded. Sitting alone in the Treaty Room later that night, I felt bad about what I had said, knowing I'd misdirected my anger and frustration. It was those damned plumes of oil that I really wanted to curse out.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Dear Dex, We’ve been meaning to write you this letter for months, and I’m sorry it took us so long. We could never quite figure out the right words to say to you, because words are simply not enough to express to you just how grateful we are to you. Not many people are lucky enough to experience the kind of friendship that you and Teddy had. You were only little kids when you met, but the bond you formed was something special. From then on, it was you and Teddy against the world. The greatest kind of friends are the ones who bring out the best in one another, and that’s what you and Teddy did every day. You made each other stronger, wiser and braver, and you learned from each other. Most importantly, you stood by each other, right until the very end. We are eternally grateful to you for being there by his side in his final moments. For holding his hand and letting him know that he wasn’t alone and that, even in death, someone he loved was there with him. We take comfort in knowing that he didn’t leave this world alone. There’s no doubt in our minds that you did everything you could to try and save him, Dex. We know that there’s nothing you could have done differently, and we can only hope that you know it too. Not everyone can be saved – sometimes God has a greater purpose for the ones we love, and we must fight through the pain and learn to accept that they are somewhere far better than here. We know that you miss him, and we miss him too… every single day. But with each day that passes, it becomes a little bit easier. Some days are harder than others, but our frowns no longer outweigh our smiles. We no longer cry when we see his pictures around the house, and memories of him no longer bring pain to our hearts, but instead put a smile on our faces as we remember who he was. We all must honor his memory by focusing on what we gained by having him in our lives, rather than on what we lost when he passed. It’s what he would have wanted for all of us. Teddy loved life. He reveled in the simple things, and he saw a positive light in even the worst situations. He would never want his death to bring you sadness or to rob you of the joys of life. He would want you to remember the good times and focus on the memories of him that make you smile – because he is someone who could make anyone smile! You have such a big heart, Dex, and because of that you’ve always felt things a little bit stronger and more deeply than everyone else. Don’t let your grief weigh you down. Don’t carry the burden of your loss with you forever. Our scars become a part of us, but you cannot let them define you. We will carry him with us in our hearts forever, and moving on does not mean that we’re forgetting him or leaving him behind. It means choosing to live. Thank you for being a part of our son’s life. Of our lives. You brought so much joy and laughter to his time here on this earth, and we will forever cherish those moments. Take solace in your memories of him, do not let them bring you pain. Teddy loved you so much, and he always will. So will we.
Ellie Grace (Break Away)
What a joy this book is! I love recipe books, but it’s short-lived; I enjoy the pictures for several minutes, read a few pages, and then my eyes glaze over. They are basically books to be used in the kitchen for one recipe at a time. This book, however, is in a different class altogether and designed to be read in its entirety. It’s in its own sui generis category; it has recipes at the end of most of the twenty-one chapters, but it’s a book to be read from cover to cover, yet it could easily be read chapter by chapter, in any order, as they are all self-contained. Every bite-sized chapter is a flowing narrative from a well-stocked brain encompassing Balinese culture, geography and history, while not losing its main focus: food. As you would expect from a scholar with a PhD in history from Columbia University, the subject matter has been meticulously researched, not from books and articles and other people’s work, but from actually being on the ground and in the markets and in the kitchens of Balinese families, where the Balinese themselves learn their culinary skills, hands on, passed down orally, manually and practically from generation to generation. Vivienne Kruger has lived in Bali long enough to get it right. That’s no mean feat, as the subject has not been fully studied before. Yes, there are so-called Balinese recipe books, most, if I’m not mistaken, written by foreigners, and heavily adapted. The dishes have not, until now, been systematically placed in their proper cultural context, which is extremely important for the Balinese, nor has there been any examination of the numerous varieties of each type of recipe, nor have they been given their true Balinese names. This groundbreaking book is a pleasure to read, not just for its fascinating content, which I learnt a lot from, but for the exuberance, enthusiasm and originality of the language. There’s not a dull sentence in the book. You just can’t wait to read the next phrase. There are eye-opening and jaw-dropping passages for the general reader as Kruger describes delicacies from the village of Tengkudak in Tabanan district — grasshoppers, dragonflies, eels and live baby bees — and explains how they are caught and cooked. She does not shy away from controversial subjects, such as eating dog and turtle. Parts of it are not for the faint-hearted, but other parts make you want to go out and join the participants, such as the Nusa Lembongan fishermen, who sail their outriggers at 5.30 a.m. The author quotes Miguel Covarrubias, the great Mexican observer of the 1930s, who wrote “The Island of Bali.” It has inspired all writers since, including myself and my co-author, Ni Wayan Murni, in our book “Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World.” There is, however, no bibliography, which I found strange at first. I can only imagine it’s a reflection of how original the subject matter is; there simply are no other sources. Throughout the book Kruger mentions Balinese and Indonesian words and sometimes discusses their derivations. It’s a Herculean task. I was intrigued to read that “satay” comes from the Tamil word for flesh ( sathai ) and that South Indians brought satay to Southeast Asia before Indonesia developed its own tradition. The book is full of interesting tidbits like this. The book contains 47 recipes in all, 11 of which came from Murni’s own restaurant, Murni’s Warung, in Ubud. Mr Dolphin of Warung Dolphin in Lovina also contributed a number of recipes. Kruger adds an introduction to each recipe, with a detailed and usually very personal commentary. I think my favorite, though, is from a village priest (pemangku), I Made Arnila of the Ganesha (Siwa) Temple in Lovina. water. I am sure most will enjoy this book enormously; I certainly did.” Review published in The Jakarta Globe, April 17, 2014. Jonathan Copeland is an author and photographer based in Bali. thejakartaglobe/features/spiritual-journey-culinary-world-bali
Vivienne Kruger