Rewarding Myself Quotes

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We star-crossed lovers of District 12, who suffered so much and enjoyed so little the rewards of our victory, do not seek our fans' favor, grace them with our smiles, or catch their kisses. We are unforgiving. And I love it. Getting to be myself at last.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me.
Simone de Beauvoir
I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. I discovered that I am not disciplined out of virtue but as a reaction to my negligence, that I appear generous in order to conceal my meanness, that I pass myself off as prudent because I am evil-minded, that I am conciliatory in order not to succumb to my repressed rage, that I am punctual only to hide how little I care about other people’s time. I learned, in short, that love is not a condition of the spirit but a sign of the zodiac.
Gabriel García Márquez (Memories of My Melancholy Whores)
And now...farewell to kindness, humanity and gratitude. I have substituted myself for Providence in rewarding the good; may the God of vengeance now yield me His place to punish the wicked.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
It has made me better loving you... it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
I had taught myself that a human being might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I had made it somewhere special, and I'd gotten there all on my own. Nobody had given it to me. Nobody had told me to do it. I'd climbed and climbed and climbed, and this was my reward. To watch over the world, and to be alone with myself. That, I found, was what I needed.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task -- such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping -- I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something.
Isaac Asimov
You still love me. It's possible." Gods, do I ache to kiss her, to remind her exactly what we are together, but I won't, not until she asks. "I'm not afraid of hard work, especially not when I know just how sweet the rewards are. I would rather loose this entire war than live without you, and if that means I have to prove myself over and over, then I'll do it. You gave me your heart, and I'm keeping it." She already owns mine, even if she doesn't realize it.
Rebecca Yarros (Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, #1))
Mortal beauty often makes me ache, and mortal grandeur can fill me with that longing...but Paris, Paris drew me close to her heart, so I forgot myself entirely. Forgot the damned and questing preternatural thing that doted on mortal skin and mortal clothing. Paris overwhelmed, and lightened and rewarded more richly than any promise.
Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1))
O my God, teach me to be generous to serve you as you deserve to be served to give without counting the cost to fight without fear of being wounded to work without seeking rest and to spend myself without expecting any reward but the knowledge that I am doing your holy will. Amen
Ignatius of Loyola
To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.
Hugh Prather
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God." The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned--our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night's sleep--all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, "If we but turn to God," said St. Augustine, "that itself is a gift of God." My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
Music gives me a sense of self-sufficiency and nourishment. I don’t need anyone or anything. I bathe in it as in amniotic fluid; it surrounds and protects me. It’s also stable, ever-available and something I can control - that is, I can reach for it whenever I want. I can also choose music that reflects my mood, or if I want, helps to soothe it…music-seeking offers excitement and tension that I can immediately resolve and a reward I can immediately attain - unlike other tensions in my life and other desired rewards. Music is a source of beauty and meaning outside myself that I can claim as my own without exploring how, in my life, I keep from directly experiencing those qualities. Addiction, in this sense, is the lazy man’s path to transcendence.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Shigure: Perhaps I can offer some advice? ...You know, Tohru-kun, when you get anxiety about the future it's better not to think about it. And let's not wipe our faces with dishtowels... For example let's say, Tohru-kun, that you are surrounded with a mountain of laundry piled so high around your feet that you can't move. Are you with me? Now, let's assume you don't have a washing machine, so you have to wash everything individually by hand. You would be at a loss for what to do, right? You'd worry about if you could ever wash everything, if you could get it all clean, if you'd ever have time for anything but laundry ever again! The more you'd think about it, the more anxious you'd get. But the time keeps passing, and the laundry doesn't wash itself. So what do you do, Tohru-kun? It might be a good idea to start washing the laundry right at your feet. Of course it's important to think about what lies ahead, too, but if you only look at what's down the road you'll get tangled in the laundry at your feet and you'll fall, won't you? You see, it's also important to think about what you can do now, what you can do today. And if you keep washing things one at a time, you'll be done before you know it. Because fortune is looking out for you. Sometimes the anxiety will start to well up, but when it does, take a little break. Read a book, watch TV, or eat soumen with everyone. Oh my, I'm shocked! Wow! What a wonderful analogy! I really must treat myself to some soumen as a reward... Oh! I'd like some tea, too! Kyo: Why you... You just wanted to eat soumen, didn't you?!
Natsuki Takaya (Fruits Basket, Vol. 8)
Why do I take a blade and slash my arms? Why do I drink myself into a stupor? Why do I swallow bottles of pills and end up in A&E having my stomach pumped? Am I seeking attention? Showing off? The pain of the cuts releases the mental pain of the memories, but the pain of healing lasts weeks. After every self-harming or overdosing incident I run the risk of being sectioned and returned to a psychiatric institution, a harrowing prospect I would not recommend to anyone. So, why do I do it? I don't. If I had power over the alters, I'd stop them. I don't have that power. When they are out, they're out. I experience blank spells and lose time, consciousness, dignity. If I, Alice Jamieson, wanted attention, I would have completed my PhD and started to climb the academic career ladder. Flaunting the label 'doctor' is more attention-grabbing that lying drained of hope in hospital with steri-strips up your arms and the vile taste of liquid charcoal absorbing the chemicals in your stomach. In most things we do, we anticipate some reward or payment. We study for status and to get better jobs; we work for money; our children are little mirrors of our social standing; the charity donation and trip to Oxfam make us feel good. Every kindness carries the potential gift of a responding kindness: you reap what you sow. There is no advantage in my harming myself; no reason for me to invent delusional memories of incest and ritual abuse. There is nothing to be gained in an A&E department.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
We get no credit for being sane, do we? I get no credit. Even from me. From myself. I hold it together and hold it together and I make it another day, another year, and there’s no reward. Nothing great about me being normal. About not being crazy.” He frowned. “Then you have one bad day, and you worry for yourself, you know? It only takes one.
Hugh Howey (Wool (Silo, #1))
I'm giving you my life to prove to myself I can, I really can love somebody. Even when I'm not getting paid, I can give love and happiness and charm. You see, I can handle the baby food and the not talking and being homeless and invisible, but I have to know that I can love somebody. Completely and totally, permanently and without hope of reward, just as an act of will, I will love somebody.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
I had meant my promise to George. I had said that I was, before anything else, a Boleyn and a Howard through and through; but now, sitting in th shadowy room, looking out over the gray slates of the city, and up at the dark clouds leaning on the roof of Westminster Palace, I suddenly realized that George was wrong, and that my family was wrong, and that I had been wrong-- for all my life. I was not a Howard before anything else. Before anything else I was a woman who was capable of passion and who had a great need and a great desire for love, I didn't want the rewards for which Anne had surrendered her youth. I didn' want the arid glamour of George's life, I wanted the heat and the sweat and the passion of a man that I could love and trust. And I wanted to give myself to him: not for advantage, but for desire.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels))
To begin... To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That's a good muffin.
Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation [screenplay])
Every time I complete a major project I reward myself with two full days of just reading and coffee! I do justify that it is my work!
Delia J. Colvin
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote: Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN. I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
So there I was, hovering above everything I knew. I had made it somewhere special, and I’d gotten there all on my own. Nobody had given it to me. Nobody had told me to do it. I’d climbed and climbed and climbed, and this was my reward. To watch over the world, and to be alone with myself. That, I found, was what I needed.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
By his [God's] help I will arise and address myself diligently to my appointed duty. If happiness in this world is not for me, I will endeavor to promote the welfare of those around me, and my reward shall be hereafter.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
I am very serious when I say this, beware of your dreams, for dreams make dangerous friends. We all have them—longings for a better life, a healthy child, a happy marriage, rewarding work. But dreams are, I have come to believe, misplaced longings. False lovers. Why? Because God is enough. Just God. And he isn’t “enough” because he can make our dreams come true—no, you’ve got him confused with Santa or Merlin or Oprah. The God who created the universe is enough for us—even without our dreams.
Phil Vischer (Me, Myself, & Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables)
I like marriage, family life and I wish to get married again. But opting out of an unhappy marriage was a duty toward myself & my future.
Rossana Condoleo (Happy Divorce: How to turn your divorce into the most brilliant and rewarding opportunity of your life!)
I froze. It was not guilt that froze me. I had taught myself never to feel guilt. It was not a ghastly sense of loss that froze me. I had taught myself to covet nothing. It was not a loathing of death that froze me. I had taught myself to think of death as a friend. It was not heartbroken rage against injustice that froze me. I had taught myself that a human being might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair. It was not the thought that I was so unloved that froze me. I had taught myself to do without love. It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him. What froze me was the fact that I had absolutely no reason to move in any direction.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
I have been used to the gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards. Like other great men under reverses, I must endeavour to subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.
Jane Austen (Persuasion)
Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, "son might turn out to be a killer" would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this: 1. Hassle. 2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.) 3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid's insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.) 4. Turning into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn't say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.) 5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I'm a pig.) 6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.) 7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.) 8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend's five-year-old in the room.) 9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew--every woman, too, which is depressing--would take me less seriously.) 10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother would feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at last her daughter's life is hideous, too.)
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
As a believer and a pantheist, I worship God not through fear and trembling but through awe and wonder at the workings of the universe—for the universe is God. I pray to God not to ask for things but to become one with God. I recognize that the knowledge of good and evil that the God of Genesis so feared humans might attain begins with the knowledge that good and evil are not metaphysical things but moral choices. I root my moral choices neither in fear of eternal punishment nor in hope of eternal reward. I recognize the divinity of the world and every being in it and respond to everyone and everything as though they were God—because they are. And I understand that the only way I can truly know God is by relying on the only thing I can truly know: myself.
Reza Aslan (God: A Human History)
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS I. Suffering does exist. II. Suffering arises from "attachment" to desires. III. Suffering ceases when "attachment" to desire ceases. IV. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the eightfold path: 1. Right understanding (view). 2. Right intention (thought). 3. Right speach. 4. Right action. 5. Right livelihood. 6. Right effort. 7. Right mindfulness. 8. Rght meditation (concentration). Buddha's fourfold consolation: With a mind free from greed and unfriendliness, incorruptible, and purified, the noble disciple is already during this lifetime assure of a fourfold consolation: “If there is another world (heaven), and a cause and effect (Karma) of good and bad actions, then it may be that, at the dissolution of the body, after death, I shall be reborn in a happy realm, a heavenly world.” Of this first consolation (s)he is assured. “And if there is no other world, no reward and no punishment of good and bad actions, then I live at least here, in this world, an untroubled and happy life, free from hate and unfriendliness.” Of this second consolation (s)he is assured. “And if bad things happen to bad people, but I do not do anything bad (or have unfriendliness against anyone), how can I, who am doing no bad things, meet with bad things?” Of this third consolation (s)he is assured. “And if no bad things happen to bad people, then I know myself in both ways pure.” Of this fourth consolation (s)he is assured.
Gautama Buddha
One semester later I did, indeed, graduate with a 4.0. I had done it. And after that, my GPA did . . . Nothing. I never planned on going to graduate school. I wasn’t applying for jobs that used grades as a measurement. I didn’t need that GPA for any single reason other than to SAY I had it and impress people. I could turn this into an argument for “Let’s reward a high GPA after college in LIFE! Can we get priority seating on Southwest? A free monthly refill at Starbucks? SOMETHING to make four years of my life chasing this arbitrary number WORTH it?!” (Great idea. Never gonna happen.) Or I could argue that if I’d been easier on myself and gotten 10 percent worse grades I could have had 50 percent more friendships and fun. If someone’s takeaway from this story is “Felicia Day said don’t study!,” I’ll punch you in the face. But I AM saying don’t chase perfection for perfection’s sake, or for anyone else’s sake at all. If you strive for something, make sure it’s for the right reasons. And if you fail, that will be a better lesson for you than any success you’ll ever have. Because you learn a lot from screwing up. Being perfect . . . not so much.
Felicia Day (You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost))
Somewhere here I want to bring in a learning which has been most rewarding, because it makes me feel so deeply akin to others. I can word it this way. What is most personal is most general. There have been times when in talking with students or staff, or in my writing, I have expressed myself in ways so personal that I have felt I was expressing an attitude which it was probable no one else could understand, because it was so uniquely my own…. In these instances I have almost invariably found that the very feeling which has seemed to me most private, most personal, and hence most incomprehensible by others, has turned out to be an expression for which there is a resonance in many other people. It has led me to believe that what is most personal and unique in each one of us is probably the very element which would, if it were shared or expressed, speak most deeply to others. This has helped me to understand artists and poets as people who have dared to express the unique in themselves.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
Sports contained the truth, I decided, the unspoken truth (how quickly we damn ourselves when we start to talk, how small and inglorious we always sound), and it seemed hard to believe that I had never understood this before. They rewarded effortlessness and unself-consciousness; they confirmed that yes, there are rankings of skill and value and that everyone knows what they are (seeing those guys who were subbed with two seconds left before the end of a quarter, I’d think how girls’ coaches were never that heartless); they showed that the best things in the world to be were young and strong and fast. To play a great game of high school basketball-it was something I myself had never done, but I could tell-made you know what it was to be alive. How much in an adult life can compare to that? Granted, there are margaritas, or there’s no homework, but there are also puffy white bagels under neon lights in the conference room, there’s waiting for the plumber, making small talk with your boring neighbor.
Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep)
It's an event, a small defiance of rule, so small as to be undetectable, but such moments are the rewards I hold out for myself, like the candy I hoarded, as a child, at the back of a drawer. Such moments are possibilities, tiny peepholes.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)
I had surrendered and the reward was that I knew myself
Akwaeke Emezi (Freshwater)
I know that our efforts all come to nothing. I know the end of us all is nothing, I know that at the end of Time, the reward of our toil will be nothing— and again nothing. I know that all our handiwork will be destroyed. I know that not even ash will be left from the fires that consume us. I know that our ideals, even those we achieve, will vanish in the eternal darkness of oblivion and final non-being. There is no hope, none, in my heart. No promise, none, can I make to myself and to others. No recompense can I expect for my labors. No fruit will be born of my thoughts. The Future—eternal seducer of all men, eternal cause of all effects—offers me nothing but the blank prospect of annihilation.
Giovanni Papini (Un uomo finito)
I think college is a lot like childbirth. I’ve never pushed a baby out myself, but I hear it’s comparable to doing squats over a pile of flaming swords. Even after that remarkable sensation, mothers all over the world go back for more. It's not that they don't remember the flaming swords; they just choose to focus on the more rewarding aspects of the experience.
Lindsey Stirling (The Only Pirate at the Party)
I must have had some high object in life, for I feel unbounded strength within me. But I never discovered it and was carried away by the allurements of empty, un-rewarding passions. I was tempered in their flames and came out cold and hard as steel, but I'd lost forever that fire of noble endeavour, that finest flower of life. How many time since then have I been an axe in the hands of fate? Like an engine of execution, I've descended on the heads of the condemned, often without malice, but always without pity. My love has brought no one happiness, for I've never sacrificed a thing for those I've loved. I've loved for myself, for my own pleasure, I've only tried to satisfy a strange inner need. I've fed on their feelings, love, joys and sufferings, and always wanted more. I'm like a starving man who falls asleep exhausted and sees rich food and sparkling wines before him. He rapturously falls on these phantom gifts of the imagination and feels better, but the moment he wakes up his dream disappears and he's left more hungry and desperate than before.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
I will practice humility: putting my beloved before myself, expecting no praise or reward, for now we are joined in all things.
Fonda Lee (Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1))
I see things in windows and I say to myself that I want them. I want them because I want to belong. I want to be liked by more people, I want to be held in higher regard than others. I want to feel valued, so I say to myself to watch certain shows. I watch certain shows on the television so I can participate in dialogues and conversations and debates with people who want the same things I want. I want to dress a certain way so certain groups of people are forced to be attracted to me. I want to do my hair a certain way with certain styling products and particular combs and methods so that I can fit in with the In-Crowd. I want to spend hours upon hours at the gym, stuffing my body with what scientists are calling 'superfoods', so that I can be loved and envied by everyone around me. I want to become an icon on someone's mantle. I want to work meaningless jobs so that I can fill my wallet and parentally-advised bank accounts with monetary potential. I want to believe what's on the news so that I can feel normal along with the rest of forever. I want to listen to the Top Ten on Q102, and roll my windows down so others can hear it and see that I am listening to it, and enjoying it. I want to go to church every Sunday, and pray every other day. I want to believe that what I do is for the promise of a peaceful afterlife. I want rewards for my 'good' deeds. I want acknowledgment and praise. And I want people to know that I put out that fire. I want people to know that I support the war effort. I want people to know that I volunteer to save lives. I want to be seen and heard and pointed at with love. I want to read my name in the history books during a future full of clones exactly like me. The mirror, I've noticed, is almost always positioned above the sink. Though the sink offers more depth than a mirror, and mirror is only able to reflect, the sink is held in lower regard. Lower still is the toilet, and thought it offers even more depth than the sink, we piss and shit in it. I want these kind of architectural details to be paralleled in my every day life. I want to care more about my reflection, and less about my cleanliness. I want to be seen as someone who lives externally, and never internally, unless I am able to lock the door behind me. I want these things, because if I didn't, I would be dead in the mirrors of those around me. I would be nothing. I would be an example. Sunken, and easily washed away.
Dave Matthes
My Sadness is Deeper than Yours My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.
John Tottenham
And, increasingly, I find myself fixing on that refusal to pull back. Because I don’t care what anyone says or how often or winningly they say it: no one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here’s the truth: life is catastrophe. The basic fact of existence—of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do—is catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me—and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool. Sinkhole of hospital beds, coffins, and broken hearts. No release, no appeal, no “do-overs” to employ a favored phrase of Xandra’s, no way forward but age and loss, and no way out but death. [“Complaints bureau!” I remember Boris grousing as a child, one afternoon at his house when we had got off on the vaguely metaphysical subject of our mothers: why they—angels, goddesses—had to die? while our awful fathers thrived, and boozed, and sprawled, and muddled on, and continued to stumble about and wreak havoc, in seemingly indefatigable health? “They took the wrong ones! Mistake was made! Everything is unfair! Who do we complain to, in this shitty place? Who is in charge here?”] And—maybe it’s ridiculous to go on in this vein, although it doesn’t matter since no one’s ever going to see this—but does it make any sense at all to know that it ends badly for all of us, even the happiest of us, and that we all lose everything that matters in the end—and yet to know as well, despite all this, as cruelly as the game is stacked, that it’s possible to play it with a kind of joy?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I do not consider myself a religious person, because I don't adhere to a particular religion or faith or prescribed beliefs, as did my father, who was a Baptist minister. And I am not an atheist, one who thinks that belief in anything beyond the here and now and the rational is delusion. I love science, but I allow for mystery, things that can never be proven by a rational mind. I am a person who thinks about the nature of the spirit when I write. I think about what can't be known and only imagined. I often sense a spirit or force or meaning beyond myself. I leave it open as to what the spirit is, but I continue to make guesses -- that it could be the universal binding of the emotion of love, or a joyful quality of humanity, or a collective unconscious that turns out to be a unified conscience. The spirit could be all those worshiped by all the religions, even those that deny the validity of others. It could be that we all exist in all ten dimensions of a string-theory universe and are seeding memories in all of them and occupy them simultaneously as memory. Or we exist only as thought and out perception that it is a physical world is a delusion. The nature of spirit could also be my mother and my grandmother and that they really do serve as my muses as I fondly imagine them doing at times. Or maybe the nature of the spirit is a freer imagination. I've often thought that imagination was the conduit to compassion, and compassion is a true spiritual nature. Whatever the spirit might be, I am not basing what I do in this life on any expected reward or punishment in the hereafter or thereafter. It is enough that I feel blessed -- and by whom or what I don't know -- but I receive it with gratitude that I am a writer and my work is to imagine all the possibilities.
Amy Tan
I will practice humility: putting my beloved before myself, expecting no praise or reward, for now we are joined in all things. I will practice compassion: giving gratitude for my beloved, suffering when they suffer, for now we are joined in all things. I will practice courage: for protecting my beloved from harm, facing all fears from within or without, for now we are joined in all things. I will practice goodness: offering freely of myself to my beloved, honoring and caring for each other in body and soul, for now we are joined in all things. I make this pledge to you and you alone, under the eyes of the gods in Heaven, from this moment until the last one of my life.
Fonda Lee (Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1))
Our success in life is determined by one primary objective: how functionally transformed into Christ's likeness have we become? If He sees that we were forgiving even when wounded; if He sees in us a heart that holds fast its faith even in times of adversity; if He finds us to be truly repentant and genuinely humble, even when we could boast; and if He sees we are... committed to a life of love, we will have fulfilled the purpose of God. We will receive a great reward. If, however, the Lord sees in us a soul easily offended or that we blame others for our joyless, angry attitude; if He scans our inner man and finds we are self-righteous and judgmental; or if our conscience alternately either accuses or defends ourselves, then we will render an account for our life at the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 1:29, 2:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27). Thus, it is of the utmost importance that we settle the eternal goal for our lives. Are we seizing life's opportunities to appropriate Christ or are we mostly coasting? Let us say with vision and assurance, I am preparing myself for God.
Francis Frangipane
The mind provides a person with the mental fortitude to survive any physical or spiritual crisis. For the present time, I am satisfying myself by building a little shop in the back of my mind, a place where stillness resides and a jangle of thoughts can come and visit. I am building a room of my own, a room that I can retreat to when needed, a place where I am always welcomed regardless of the trappings of this ordinary and finite life. I do not need much as far as earthy rewards, but I certainly will not spurn food, drink, companionship, love, affection, friendship, or other physical, emotional, spiritual, aesthetic, and sensuous pleasures that find their way to my humble doorstep.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
I’m not afraid of hard work, especially not when I know just how sweet the rewards are. I would rather lose this entire war than live without you, and if that means I have to prove myself over and over, then I’ll do it. You gave me your heart, and I’m keeping it.” She already owns mine, even if she doesn’t realize it.
Rebecca Yarros (Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, #1))
Growing up means learning to be responsible for others—and embracing the great joys those responsibilities can bring. Homer taught me that building my life around someone other than myself, making myself responsible for someone else’s life, is one of the most rewarding differences between being a kid and being an adult.
Gwen Cooper (Homer's Odyssey)
I do not wish my anger and pain and fear about cancer to fossilize into yet another silence, nor to rob me of whatever strength can lie at the core of this experience, openly acknowledged and examined. For other women of all ages, colors, and sexual identities who recognize that imposed silence about any area of our lives is a tool for separation and powerlessness, and for myself, I have tried to voice some of my feelings and thoughts about the travesty of prosthesis, the pain of amputation, the function of cancer in a profit economy, my confrontation with mortality, the strength of women loving, and the power and rewards of self-conscious living.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
In the Strategy of Pairing, I couple two activities, one that I need or want to do, and one that I don’t particularly want to do, to get myself to accomplish them both. It’s not a reward, it’s not a treat, it’s just a pairing.
Gretchen Rubin (Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life)
I can’t help catching glimpses of us on the huge screens along the route, and we are not just beautiful, we are dark and powerful. No, more. We star-crossed lovers from District 12, who suffered so much and enjoyed so little the rewards of our victory, do not seek the fans’ favor, grace them with our smiles, or catch their kisses. We are unforgiving. And I love it. Getting to be myself at last.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
Learning to wear a mask (that word already embedded in the term "masculinity") is the first lesson in patriarchal masculinity a boy learns. He learns that his core feelings cannot be expressed if they do not conform to the acceptable behaviors sexism defines as male. Asked to give up the true self in order to realize the patriarchal ideal, boys learn self-betrayal early and are rewarded for these acts of soul murder. Therapist John Bradshaw explains the splitting that takes place when a child learns that the way he organically feels is not acceptable. In response to this lesson that his true self is inappropriate and wrong, the boy learns to don a false self. Bradshaw explains, "The feeling that I have done something wrong, that I really don't know what it is, that there's something terribly wrong with my very being, leads to a sense of utter hopelessness. This hopelessness is the deepest cut of the mystified state. It means there is no possibility for me as I am; there is no way I can matter or be worthy of anyone's love as long as I remain myself. I must find a way to be someone else - someone who is lovable. Someone who is not me.
bell hooks (The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love)
When my nephew passed beyond, Wilhelm comforted himself that a child in his innocence would be delivered speedily to heaven, and there be given an honored place. “In this small, simple throne,” Wilhelm said, and I said, “With secret compartments for his bird’s nests and smooth stones.” Wilhelm believed this. He had to believe this. I, too, repeated this conception to myself again and again, trying harder to harder to believe it. But a Creator who takes a child so small, so kind, so tender? What can be made of that? The tales we collected are not merciful. Villains are boiled in snake-filled oil, wicked Steifmutter-stepmothers-are made to dance into death in molten-hot shoes, and on and on. The tales are full of terrible punishments, yes, but they follow just cause. Goodness is rewarded; evil is not. The generous simpleton finds more happiness and coin than the greedy king. So why not mercy and justice to sweet youth from an omnipotent and benevolent Creator? There are only three answers. He is not omnipotent, or he is not benevolent, or-the dreariest possibility of all-he is inattentive. What if that was what happened to my nephew? That God’s gaze had merely strayed elsewhere?
Tom McNeal (Far Far Away)
I can do anything I believe I can do! I’ve got it, and every day I get more of it. I have talent, skills, and ability. I set goals and I reach them. I know what I want out of life. I go after it and I get it. People like me, and I feel good about myself. I have a sense of pride in who I am, and I believe in myself. Nothing seems to stop me. I have a lot of determination. I turn problems into advantages. I find possibilities in things that other people never give a chance. I have a lot of energy—I am very alive! I enjoy life and I can tell it and so can others. I keep myself up, looking ahead, and liking it. I know that I can accomplish anything I choose, and I refuse to let anything negative hold me back or stand in my way. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I have strength, power, conviction, and confidence! I like challenges and I meet them head on, face to face—today especially! I am on top of the world and I’m going for it. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. I can see it in front of me. I know what I want and I know how to get it. I know that it’s all up to me and I know I can do it. Roadblocks don’t bother me. They just mean that I am alive and running, and I’m not going to stand still for anything. I trust myself I’ve got what it takes—plenty of it—and I know how to use it. Today, more than ever. Today I am unstoppable! I’ve got myself together and I’m getting more together every day. And today—look out world, here I come! Limitations? I don’t even recognize them as limitations. There is no challenge I can’t conquer; there is no wall I can’t climb over. There is no problem I can’t defeat, or turn around and make it work for me. I stand tall! I am honest and sincere. I like to deal with people and they like me. I think well; I think clearly. I am organized; I am in control of myself, and everything about me. I call my shots, and no one has to call them for me. I never blame anyone else for the circumstances of my life. I accept my failings and move past them as easily as I accept the rewards for my victories. I never demand perfection of myself, but I expect the very best of what I have to give—and that’s what I get! I never give myself excuses. I get things done on time and in the right way. Today I have the inner strength to do more than ever. I am an exceptional human being. My goals and my incredible belief in myself turn my goals into reality. I have the power to live my dreams. I believe in them like I believe in myself. And that belief is so strong that there is nothing that diminishes my undefeatable spirit.
Shad Helmstetter (What To Say When You Talk To Your Self)
Down in the valley, leaves fall from trees, the branches are bare. All the flowers have faded, their blossoms once so beautiful. The frost attacks many herbs and kills them. I grieve. But if the winter is so cold, there must be new joys. Help me sing a joy of a hundred thousand times greater than the buds of May. I will sing of roses on the red cheeks of my lady. Could I win her favor, this lovely lady would give me such joy I would need no other. (Jack) What are you saying? (Lorelei) Noble lady, I ask nothing of you save that you should accept me as your servant. I will serve you as a good lord should serve, whatever the reward may be. Here I am, then, at your orders, sincere and humble, gay and courteous. You are not, after all, a bear or lion, and would not kill me, surely, if I put myself between your hands. I love you, my lady, Lorelei. Marry me and I swear I shall never again do or say anything to harm you and I will slay anyone who does. (Jack)
Kinley MacGregor (Master of Seduction (Sea Wolves, #1))
I took off my sweatshirt and dropped it on the grass and set off around the track. As soon as I started running, the world changed. The bodies spread out across the green of the football field were parts of a scene remembered, not one real at this moment. The secret of effort is to keep on, I told myself. Not for the world would I have stopped then, and yet nothing- not even if I had been turned handsome as a reward for finishing- could have made up for the curious pain of the effort.
Harold Brodkey
The big story for me personally over the past few years has been my ability to open myself up to commitment. I’ve chosen to reject all but the very best people and experiences and values in my life. I shut down all my business projects and decided to focus on writing full-time. Since then, my website has become more popular than I’d ever imagined possible. I’ve committed to one woman for the long haul and, to my surprise, have found this more rewarding than any of the flings, trysts, and one-night stands I had in the past. I’ve committed to a single geographic location and doubled down on the handful of my significant, genuine, healthy friendships.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
I studied Finn the way another boy might have studied history, determined to memorize his vocabulary, his movements, his clothes, what he said, what he did, what he thought. What ideas circulated in his head when he looked distracted? What did he dream about? But most of all what I wanted was to see myself through his eyes, to define myself in relation to him, to sift out what was interesting in me (what he must have liked, however insignificant) and distill it into a purer, bolder, more compelling version of myself. The truth is, for that brief period of my life I failed to exist if Finn wasn't looking at me. And so I copied him, strove to exist the way he existed: to stretch, languid and graceful when tired, to move swiftly and with determination when not, to speak rarely and with force, to smile in a way that rewarded the world.
Meg Rosoff (What I Was)
Confession I love you – I love you, e’en as I Rage at myself for this obsession, And as I make my shamed confession, Despairing at your feet I lie. I know, I know – It ill becomes me, I am too old, time to be wise … But how? … This love – it overcomes me, A sickness this in passion’s guise. When you are near I’m filled with sadness, When far, I yawn, for life’s a bore. I must pour out this love, this madness, There’s nothing that I long for more! When your shirts rustle, when, my angel, Your girlish voice I hear, when your Light step sounds in the parlour – strangely, I turn confused, perturbed, unsure. Your frown – and I’m in pain, I languish; You smile – and joy defeats distress; My one reward for a day’s anguish Comes when your, pale hand, love, I kiss. When you sit, bent over your sewing, Your eyes cast down and fine curls blowing. About your face, with tenderness I like childlike watch, my heart o’erflowing With love, in my gaze a caress. Shall I my jealousy and yearning Describe, my bitterness and woe When by yourself on some bleak morning Off on a distant walk you go, Or with another spend the evening And, with him near, the piano play, Or for Opochka leave, or, grieving Weep and in silence, pass the day? Alina! Pray relent have mercy! I dare not ask for love – with all My many sins, both great and small, I am perhaps of love unworthy! But if feigned love, if you would Pretend, you’d easily deceive me, For happily would I, believe me, Deceive myself if but I could!
Alexander Pushkin
I once asked Cortez whether he would risk his life for other men in the platoon. “I’d actually throw myself on the hand grenade for them,” he said. I asked him why. “Because I actually love my brothers,” he said. “I mean, it’s a brotherhood. Being able to save their life so they can live, I think is rewarding. Any of them would do it for me.
Sebastian Junger (War)
I've been living like this for a long time - about twenty years. I'm forty now. I used to be in the civil service; I no longer am. I was a wicked official. I was rude, and took pleasure in it. After all, I didn't accept bribes, so I had to reward myself at least with that. (A bad witticism, but I won't cross it out. I wrote it thinking it would come out very witty; but now, seeing for myself that I simply had a vile wish to swagger - I purposely won't cross it out!) When petitioners would come for information to the desk where I sat - I'd gnash my teeth at them, and felt an inexhaustible delight when I managed to upset someone. I almost always managed. They were timid people for the most part: petitioners, you know. But among the fops there was one officer I especially could not stand. He simply refused to submit and kept rattling his sabre disgustingly. I was at war with him over that sabre for a year and a half. In the end, I prevailed. He stopped rattling. However, that was still in my youth. But do you know, gentlemen, what was the main point about my wickedness? The whole thing precisely was, the greatest nastiness precisely lay in my being shamefully conscious every moment, even in moments of the greatest bile, that I was not only not a wicked but was not even an embittered man, that I was simply frightening sparrows in vain, and pleasing myself with it. I’m foaming at the mouth, but bring me some little doll, give me some tea with a bit of suger, and maybe I’ll calm down. I’ll even wax tenderhearted, though afterwards I’ll certainly gnash my teeth at myself and suffer from insomnia for a few months out of shame. Such is my custom. And I lied about myself just now when I said I was a wicked official. I lied out of wickedness. I was simply playing around both with the petitioners and with the officer, but as a matter of fact I was never able to become wicked.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground)
Self proclamation of authoritative titles is a common phenomenon among religious and/or occult sect leaders. A cursory survey of this primarily 20th century phenomenon will instantly reveal a multitude of self-declared Masters, High Priests, gurus, Ipsissimi, Bhaghwani, etc.. I am pleased that I cannot count myself among such types. Legitimate religious teachers and scholars know that a genuine spiritual leader is one whose calling to lead is first noticed by those outside of him or herself based on certain qualities, abilities, and actions and then must subsequently be accepted by the individual in question as his or her destiny. This contrasts with those whose will to lead is born simply out of the mundane wish to be a leader. In such cases the goal being to reap the rewards a title brings without the hard work and the innate, manifest qualities which validate the position; in short what might be considered a 'false prophet'." --“From the Eye of the Storm” (Zeena's column for the SLM) Volume II – Winter Issue (2003): “One Year Later...
Zeena Schreck (Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic)
For as much as many NKOTB fans have been caught off guard by how much this has all meant, so too have some of the guys. Donnie says, "It was a surprise to me how fulfilling it was. It was a surprise to me how emotional it was, how rewarding it was. And quite frankly, how wrapped up in the fans I am. I'm not caught up in the hype. I don't need it. I don't need some fulfillment. I can live without it. But I don't want to. I love making people smile. I love sharing myself. I love the feeling of making people happy. I love the fact that, for whatever reason, I've been put in a position to change people's lives in a simple way. I'm not healing diseases. But I can make someone happy, even for a short time.
Nikki Van Noy (New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters)
Hold your tongue, or I'll kill you! You'll kill me? No, excuse me, I will speak. I came to treat myself to that pleasure. Oh, I love the dreams of my ardent young friends, quivering with eagerness for life! 'There are new men,' you decided last spring, when you were meaning to come here, 'they propose to destroy everything and begin with cannibalism. Stupid fellows! they didn't ask my advice! I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that's how we have to set to work. It's that, that we must begin with. Oh, blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God -- and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass -- the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what's more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of the joys of heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it's useless for him to repine at life's being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave'... and so on and so on in the same style. Charming! Ivan sat with his eyes on the floor, and his hands pressed to his ears, but he began trembling all over. The voice continued. (The devil) The question now is, my young thinker reflected, is it possible that such a period will ever come? If it does, everything is determined and humanity is settled for ever. But as, owing to man's inveterate stupidity, this cannot come about for at least a thousand years, everyone who recognises the truth even now may legitimately order his life as he pleases, on the new principles. In that sense, 'all things are lawful' for him. What's more, even if this period never comes to pass, since there is anyway no God and no immortality, the new man may well become the man-god, even if he is the only one in the whole world, and promoted to his new position, he may lightheartedly overstep all the barriers of the old morality of the old slaveman, if necessary. There is no law for God. Where God stands, the place is holy. Where I stand will be at once the foremost place... 'all things are lawful' and that's the end of it! That's all very charming; but if you want to swindle why do you want a moral sanction for doing it? But that's our modern Russian all over. He can't bring himself to swindle without a moral sanction. He is so in love with truth-.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
The reward is in the risk. I wanted so badly to believe, but the fear felt as great and overwhelming as the desire. I abruptly stood up from my chair so I could return to my room and feel terribly sorry for myself and eat away too much chocolate in private “Can we try to be wise with each other for a very long time??” -“You mean, can we share our fuckups and see if we can get any wisdom out of them?” “Yeah, that would be nice” They think that fate is playing with them. That we’re all just participants in this romantic reality show that God gets a kick our of watching. But the universe doesn’t decide what’s right or not right. You do Dullness is the spice of live. Which is why we must always use other spices I don’t know what I’m doing. Please don’t laugh at me. If I’m a disaster, please be kind and let me down gently Was it possible my heart was shaking as hard as my hands? I thought about the bigger picture of my life, and about the people I would encounter during my lifetime. How would I ever know when that moment was right, when expectation met anticipation and formed…connection?
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
I guess you can call it the ultimate hat trick, and all the players, myself included, are still reaping the rewards of being three-time national champions. Dean, one of my fellow defensemen, calls it the Three P’s of Victory: parties, praise and pussy. It’s a pretty fair assessment of the situation, because I’ve been on the receiving end of all three since our big win.
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
And, increasingly, I find myself fixing on that refusal to pull back. Because I don’t care what anyone says or how often or winningly they say it: no one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here’s the truth: life is catastrophe. The basic fact of existence—of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do—is catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me—and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool. Sinkhole of hospital beds, coffins, and broken hearts. No release, no appeal, no “do-overs” to employ a favored phrase of Xandra’s, no way forward but age and loss, and no way out but death.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I’ve experienced a lot in my life. I’ve been in bloody battles. I’ve been with friends who were killed. I’ve seen terrible things done to man and beast, but I’ve never felt afraid. “I’ve been troubled. I’ve also been uneasy and tense. I’ve been in mortal danger, but I’ve never experienced that cold-sweat kind of fear, the kind that eats a man alive, brings him to his knees, and makes him beg. In fact, I always prided myself on being above that. I thought that I’d suffered through and seen so much that nothing could scare me anymore. That nothing could bring me to that point.” He brushed a brief kiss on my neck. “I was wrong. When I found you and saw that…that thing trying to kill you, I was enraged. I destroyed it without hesitation.” “The Kappa were terrifying.” “I wasn’t afraid of the Kappa. I was afraid…that I’d lost you. I felt an unquenchable, gut-wrenching, corrosive fear. It was unbearable. The most agonizing part was realizing that I didn’t want to live anymore if you were gone and knowing there was nothing I could do about it. I would be stuck forever in this miserable existence without you.” I heard every word he said. It pierced through me, and I knew I would have felt the same way if our places had been reversed. But I told myself that his heartfelt declaration was just a reflection of the tense pressure we’d been under. The little love plant in my heart was grasping at each wispy thought, absorbing his words like sweet drops of morning dew. But I chastised my heart and shoved the tender expressions of affection elsewhere, determined to be unaffected by them. “It’s okay. I’m here. You don’t need to be afraid. I’m still around to help you break the curse,” I said, trying to keep my voice even. He squeezed my waist and whispered softly, “Breaking the curse didn’t matter to me anymore. I thought you were dying.” I swallowed and tried to be flippant. “Well, I didn’t. See? I lived to argue with you another day. Now don’t you wish it had gone the other way?” His arms stiffened and he threatened, “Don’t ever say that, Kells.” After a second of hesitation, I said, “Well, thank you. Thank you for saving me.” He pulled me close, and I allowed myself a minute, just a minute, to lie back against him and enjoy it. I had almost died after all. I deserved some kind of reward for surviving, didn’t I?
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Be vulnerable. I have tried forever to stop being vulnerable. It’s not going to happen, so, fuck it, I’ll just embrace it. And how many times have I let myself be overwhelmed by fear, I can’t even count. But always, I have found the courage to overcome those two and make it. Being vulnerable has made me the artist I am and continues to be a part of my daily existence. How else could I open my heart and create? Worrying about not being good enough or being terrified to start a new project brings out the fear. So, fuck it, I’ll embrace the fear too. Being courageous has brought me rewards I should never forget. From accomplishing my first gallery exhibitions to realizing I could handle trauma in my family with strength I didn’t know I had. All I can hope for is that I continue to allow myself to be vulnerable, face my fears and go on with courage. Maybe when facing our very human vulnerability and fear, we should take off the armor and adopt those two with an open heart. Maybe that is the ultimate act of courage. Be vulnerable.
Riitta Klint
It was not guilt that froze me. I had taught myself never to feel guilt It was not a ghastly sense of loss that froze me. I had taught myself to covet nothing. It was not a loathing of death that froze me. I had taught myself to think of death as a friend. It was not heartbroken rage against injustice that froze me. I had taught myself that a human being might as well took for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair. It was not the thought that I was so unloved that froze me. I had taught myself to do without love. It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him. What froze me was the fact that I had absolutely no reason to move in any direction. What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
I just came from Bunker Hill,’ I told Sam. ‘Hel offered me a reunion with my mother.’ I managed to tell her the story. Samirah reached out as if to touch my arm, then apparently changed her mind. ‘I’m so sorry, Magnus. But Hel lies. You can’t trust her. She’s just like my father, only colder. You made the right choice.’ ‘Yeah … still. You ever do the right thing, and you know it’s the right thing, but it leaves you feeling horrible?’ ‘You’ve just described most days of my life.’ Sam pulled up her hood. ‘When I became a Valkyrie … I’m still not sure why I fought that frost giant. The kids at Malcolm X were terrible to me. The usual garbage: they asked me if I was a terrorist. They yanked off my hijab. They slipped disgusting notes and pictures into my locker. When that giant attacked … I could’ve pretended to be just another mortal and got myself to safety. But I didn’t even think about running away. Why did I risk my life for those kids?’ I smiled. ‘What?’ she demanded. ‘Somebody once told me that a hero’s bravery has to be unplanned – a genuine response to a crisis. It has to come from the heart, without any thought of reward.’ Sam huffed. ‘That somebody sounds pretty smug.’ ‘Maybe you didn’t need to come here,’ I decided. ‘Maybe I did. To understand why we’re a good team.
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
FALK. I feel myself like God's lost prodigal; I left Him for the world's delusive charms. With mild reproof He wooed me to His arms; And when I come, He lights the vaulted hall, Prepares a banquet for the son restored, And makes His noblest creature my reward. From this time forth I'll never leave that Light,— But stand its armed defender in the fight; Nothing shall part us, and our life shall prove A song of glory to triumphant love!
Henrik Ibsen (Love's Comedy)
Hugo felt the world was hostile to his writing, he felt not only all its human inhabitants but its noises and diversions and ordinary clutter were linked against him, maliciously, purposefully, diabolically thwarting and maiming him and keeping him from his work. And I, whose business it was to throw myself between him and the world, was failing to do so, by choice perhaps as much as ineptitude for the job. I did not believe in him. I had not understood how it would be necessary to believe in him. I believed that he was clever and talented, whatever that might mean, but I was not sure he would turn out to be a writer. He did not have the authority I thought a writer should have. He was too nervous, too touchy with everybody, too much of a showoff. I believed that writers were calm, sad people, knowing too much. I believed that there was a difference about them, some hard and shining, rare intimidating quality they had from the beginning, and Hugo didn’t have it. I thought that someday he would recognize this. Meanwhile, he lived in a world whose rewards and punishments were as strange, as hidden from me, as if he had been a lunatic.
Alice Munro (Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You)
Mine is an odd destiny. Perhaps no man in the U[nited] States has sacrificed or done more for the present Constitution than myself. And contrary to all my anticipations of its fate, as you know from the very beginning, I am still labouring to prop the frail and worthless fabric. Yet I have the murmur of its friends no less than the curses of its foes for my rewards. What can I do better than withdraw from the scene? Every day proves to me more and more that this American world was not made for me.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
I always call that the year it rained in my life. That was one of Maud’s euphemisms. There were rainy years, fertile years and sunshine years. The rainy ones were when your life cycles brought losses of some sorts. Fertile years were years of learning and growing and reaching out. Sunshine years were few and far between, but when they came, she told me to soak myself with their happy radiance. They were reward years to her, and they made up for all the suffering, pain and growth we’d persevered through.
Lindsay McKenna (A MEASURE OF LOVE)
I reach for her. 'I'm so sorry I had to keep...' My words die on my tongue as she steps back, avoiding me. 'Not happening.' A world of hurt flashes in those hazel eyes, and I fucking wither. 'Just because I believe you and am willing to fight with you doesn't mean I'll trust you with my heart again. and I can't be with someone I don't trust.' Something in my chest crumples. 'I've never lied to you, Violet. Not once. I never will.' She walks over to the window and looks down, then slowly turns back to me. 'It's not even that you kept this from me. I get it. It's the ease with which you did it. The ease with which I let you into my hear and didn't get the same in return.' She shakes her head, and I see it there, the love, but it's masked behind defences I foolishly forced her to build. I love her. Of course I love her. But if I tell her now, she'll think I'm doing it for all the wrong reasons, and honestly, she'd be right. I'm not going to lose the only woman I've ever fallen for without a fight. 'You're right. I kept secrets,' I admit, pressing forward again, taking step after step until I'm less than a foot from her. I palm the glass on both sides of her head, loosely caging her in, but we both know she could walk away if she wanted. But she doesn't move. 'It took me a long time to trust you, a long time to realise I fell for you.' Someone knocks, I ignore it. 'Don't say that.' She lifts her chin, but I don't miss the way she glances at my mouth. 'I fell for you.' I lower my head and look straight into her gorgeous eyes. She might be rightfully pissed, but she sure as Malek isn't fickle. 'And you know what? You might not trust me anymore, but you still love me.' Her lips part, but she doesn't deny it. 'I gave you my trust for free once, and once is all you get.' She masks the hurt with a quick blink. Never again. Those eyes will never reflect hurt I've inflicted ever again. 'I fucked up by not telling you sooner, and I won't even try to justify my reasons. But now I'm trusting you with my life- with everyone's lives.' I've risked it all by just bringing her here instead of taking her body back to Basgiath. 'I'll tell you anything you want to know and everything you don't. I'll spend every single day of my life earning back your trust.' I'd forgotten what it felt like to be loved, really, truly, loved- it'd been so many years since Dad died. And mom... Not going there. But then Violet gave me those words, gave me her trust, her heart, and I remembered. I'll be damned if I don't fight to keep them. 'And if it's not possible?' 'You still love me. It's possible.' Gods, do I ache to kiss her, to remind her exactly what we are together, but I won't, not until she asks. 'I'm not afraid of hard work, especially not when I know just how sweet the rewards are.. I would rather lose this entire war than live without you, and if that means I have to prove myself, over and over, then I'll do it. You gave me your heart, and I'm keeping it.' She already owns mine, even if she doesn't realise it.
Rebecca Yarros (Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, #1))
Should I shrink from the work that God had set before me, because it was not fitted to my taste? Did not He know best what I should do, and where I ought to labour? and should I long to quit His service before I had finished my task, and expect to enter into His rest without having laboured to earn it? "No; by His help I will arise and address myself diligently to my appointed duty. If happiness in this world is not for me, I will endeavour to promote the welfare of those around me, and my reward shall be hereafter.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don't love me I would rather die than live — I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest — " "Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of this charge which Mr. Brocklehurst has weakly and pompously repeated at second-hand from Mrs. Reed; for I read a sincere nature in your ardent eyes and on your clear front), and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness — to glory?
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
It’s crucial to understand that ordinarily the FBI applies for a wiretap separately from the National Security Agency. The NSA had tapped my phones for years, going back to the 1993 World Trade Center attack. But those wire taps would not automatically get shared with the FBI, unless the Intelligence Community referred my activities for a criminal investigation. The FBI took no such action. Instead—by coincidence I’m sure, the FBI started its phone taps exactly when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee planned a series of hearings on Iraq in late July, 2002.212 That timing suggests the FBI wanted to monitor what Congress would learn about the realities of Pre-War Intelligence, which contradicted everything the White House was preaching on FOX News and CNN. In which case, the Justice Department discovered that I told Congress a lot—and Congress rewarded the White House by pretending that I had not said a word. But phone taps don’t lie. Numerous phone conversations with Congressional offices show that I identified myself as one of the few Assets covering Iraq.213 Some of my calls described the peace framework, assuring Congressional staffers that diplomacy could achieve the full scope of results sought by U.S policymakers.
Susan Lindauer (EXTREME PREJUDICE: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq)
I have nothing to do with others, I am only concerned with myself. I take advantage of the fact that the majority of mankind are led by certain rewards to do things which directly or indirectly tend to my convenience.’ ‘It seems to me an awfully selfish way of looking at things,’ said Philip. ‘But are you under the impression that men ever do anything except for selfish reasons?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘It is impossible that they should. You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognise the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life—their pleasure.
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
From any point of view, I had rather be what I am, a member of the Negro race, than be able to claim membership with the most favoured of any other race. I have always been made sad when I have heard members of any race claiming rights and privileges, or certain badges of distinction, on the ground simply that they were members of this or that race, regardless of their own individual worth or attainments. I have been made to feel sad for such persons because I am conscious of the fact that mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded. This I have said here, not to call attention to myself as an individual, but to the race to which I am proud to belong.
Booker T. Washington (Up from Slavery)
I find myself fixing on that refusal to pull back. Because I don’t care what anyone says or how often or winningly they say it: no one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here’s the truth: life is catastrophe. The basic fact of existence – of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do – is catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me – and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
A Prayer of Commitment Dear Father, I need You. I cannot love or respect perfectly, but I know You hear me when I ask You for help. First, please forgive me for the times I’ve been unloving or disrespectful. And help me to forgive my spouse for being unloving or disrespectful toward me. I open my heart to You, Father. I will not be fearful or angry at You or my spouse. I’m seeing myself and my spouse in a whole new light, and I will appreciate my spouse as being different, not wrong. Lord, I also ask You to fill my heart with love and reverence for You. After all, this marriage is ultimately about You and me. It isn’t about my spouse. Thank You for helping me both understand this truth and realize that my greatest reward will come from being a spouse as unto You. Now prepare me this day for those inevitable moments of conflict. I especially ask You to put respect or love in my heart when I feel unloved or disrespected. I know there is no credit for loving or respecting when doing so is easy. Finally, I believe that You hear my prayer, and I anticipate Your response. I thank You in advance for helping me take the next loving or respectful step in my marriage. I believe You will empower me, bless me, and even reward me for my effort as I approach marriage as unto You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Emerson Eggerichs (The Language of Love & Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate)
my heart. So I fancied that your boy might fill the empty place if he tried now." "No, Mother, it is better as it is, and I'm glad Amy has learned to love him. But you are right in one thing. I am lonely, and perhaps if Teddy had tried again, I might have said 'Yes', not because I love him any more, but because I care more to be loved than when he went away." "I'm glad of that, Jo, for it shows that you are getting on. There are plenty to love you, so try to be satisfied with Father and Mother, sisters and brothers, friends and babies, till the best lover of all comes to give you your reward." "Mothers are the best lovers in the world, but I don't mind whispering to Marmee that I'd like to try all kinds. It's very curious, but the more I try to satisfy myself with all sorts of natural affections, the more I seem to want. I'd no idea hearts could take in so many. Mine is so elastic, it never seems full now, and I used to be quite contented with my family. I don't understand it." "I do," and Mrs. March smiled her wise smile, as Jo turned back the leaves to read what Amy said of Laurie. "It is so beautiful to be loved as Laurie loves me. He isn't sentimental, doesn't say much about it, but I see and feel it in all he says and does, and it makes me so happy and so humble that I don't seem to be the same girl I
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women (Illustrated))
Examples of unintelligent design in nature are so numerous that an entire book could be written simply listing them. I will permit myself just one more example. The human respiratory and digestive tracts share a little plumbing at the pharynx. In the United States alone, this intelligent design feature lands tens of thousands of children in the emergency room each year. Some hundreds choke to death. Many others suffer irreparable brain injury. What compassionate purpose does this serve? Of course, we can imagine a compassionate purpose: perhaps the parents of these children needed to be taught a lesson; perhaps God has prepared a special reward in heaven for every child who chokes to death on a bottle cap. The problem, however, is that such imaginings are compatible with any state of the world. What horrendous mishap could not be rationalized in this way? And why would you be inclined to think like this? How is it moral to think like this?
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
born and raised in Honolulu but had spent four years of his childhood flying kites and catching crickets in Indonesia. After high school, he’d passed two relatively laid-back years as a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles before transferring to Columbia, where by his own account he’d behaved nothing like a college boy set loose in 1980s Manhattan and instead lived like a sixteenth-century mountain hermit, reading lofty works of literature and philosophy in a grimy apartment on 109th Street, writing bad poetry, and fasting on Sundays. We laughed about all of it, swapping stories about our backgrounds and what led us to the law. Barack was serious without being self-serious. He was breezy in his manner but powerful in his mind. It was a strange, stirring combination. Surprising to me, too, was how well he knew Chicago. Barack was the first person I’d met at Sidley who had spent time in the barbershops, barbecue joints, and Bible-thumping black parishes of the Far South Side. Before going to law school, he’d worked in Chicago for three years as a community organizer, earning $12,000 a year from a nonprofit that bound together a coalition of churches. His task was to help rebuild neighborhoods and bring back jobs. As he described it, it had been two parts frustration to one part reward: He’d spend weeks planning a community meeting, only to have a dozen people show up. His efforts were scoffed at by union leaders and picked apart by black folks and white folks alike. Yet over time, he’d won a few incremental victories, and this seemed to encourage him. He was in law school, he explained, because grassroots organizing had shown him that meaningful societal change required not just the work of the people on the ground but stronger policies and governmental action as well. Despite my resistance to the hype that had preceded him, I found myself admiring Barack for both his self-assuredness and his earnest demeanor. He was refreshing, unconventional, and weirdly elegant.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
And meanwhile, even in spite of all my desire, I could never imagine to myself that there is no future life and no providence. Most likely there is all that, but we don't understand anything about the future life and its laws. But if it is so difficult and even completely impossible to understand it, can it be that I will have to answer for being unable to comprehend the unknowable? True, they say, and the prince, of course, along with them, that it is here that obedience is necessary, that one must obey without reasoning, out of sheer good behavior, and that I am bound to be rewarded for my meekness in the other world. We abase providence too much by ascribing our own notions to it, being vexed that we can't understand it. But, again, if it's impossible to understand it, then, I repeat, it is hard to have to answer for something it is not given to man to understand. And if so, how are they going to judge me for being unable to understand the true will and laws of providence? No, we'd better leave religion alone.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
I only feel, rightly or wrongly, that there is something underneath everything. When one person kills or harms another person, then there is 'something'--isn't there? Not simply atoms flying around in various configurations through empty space. I don't know how to explain myself, really. But I feel that it does matter--not to hurt other people, even in one's own self-interest. Felix of course agrees with this sentiment as far as it goes, and he points out (quite reasonably) that nobody goes around committing mass murders just because they don't believe in God. But increasingly I think it's because, in one way or another, they do believe in God--they believe in the God that is the deep buried principle of goodness and love underneath everything. Goodness regardless of reward, regardless of our own desires, regardless of whether anyone is watching or anyone will know. If that's God, then Felix says fine, it's just a word, it means nothing. And of course it doesn't mean heaven and angels and the resurrection of Christ--but maybe those things can help in some way to put us in touch with what it does mean. That most of our attempts throughout human history to describe the difference between right and wrong have been feeble and cruel and unjust, but that the difference still remains--beyond ourselves, beyond each specific culture, beyond every individual person who has ever lived or died. And we spend our lives trying to know that difference and to live by it, trying to love other people instead of hating them, and there is nothing else that matters on the earth.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
In the years since the disaster, I often think of my friend Arturo Nogueira, and the conversations we had in the mountains about God. Many of my fellow survivors say they felt the personal presence of God in the mountains. He mercifully allowed us to survive, they believe, in answer to our prayers, and they are certain it was His hand that led us home. I deeply respect the faith of my friends, but, to be honest, as hard as I prayed for a miracle in the Andes, I never felt the personal presence of God. At least, I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good. If this was God, it was not God as a being or a spirit or some omnipotent, superhuman mind. It was not a God who would choose to save us or abandon us, or change in any way. It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence. I feel this presence still when my mind quiets and I really pay attention. I don’t pretend to understand what it is or what it wants from me. I don’t want to understand these things. I have no interest in any God who can be understood, who speaks to us in one holy book or another, and who tinkers with our lives according to some divine plan, as if we were characters in a play. How can I make sense of a God who sets one religion above the rest, who answers one prayer and ignores another, who sends sixteen young men home and leaves twenty-nine others dead on a mountain? There was a time when I wanted to know that god, but I realize now that what I really wanted was the comfort of certainty, the knowledge that my God was the true God, and that in the end He would reward me for my faithfulness. Now I understand that to be certain–-about God, about anything–-is impossible. I have lost my need to know. In those unforgettable conversations I had with Arturo as he lay dying, he told me the best way to find faith was by having the courage to doubt. I remember those words every day, and I doubt, and I hope, and in this crude way I try to grope my way toward truth. I still pray the prayers I learned as a child–-Hail Marys, Our Fathers–-but I don’t imagine a wise, heavenly father listening patiently on the other end of the line. Instead, I imagine love, an ocean of love, the very source of love, and I imagine myself merging with it. I open myself to it, I try to direct that tide of love toward the people who are close to me, hoping to protect them and bind them to me forever and connect us all to whatever there is in the world that is eternal. …When I pray this way, I feel as if I am connected to something good and whole and powerful. In the mountains, it was love that kept me connected to the world of the living. Courage or cleverness wouldn’t have saved me. I had no expertise to draw on, so I relied upon the trust I felt in my love for my father and my future, and that trust led me home. Since then, it has led me to a deeper understanding of who I am and what it means to be human. Now I am convinced that if there is something divine in the universe, the only way I will find it is through the love I feel for my family and my friends, and through the simple wonder of being alive. I don’t need any other wisdom or philosophy than this: My duty is to fill my time on earth with as much life as possible, to become a little more human every day, and to understand that we only become human when we love. …For me, this is enough.
Nando Parrado
To the night version of her (mother) I owe free-floating anxiety. I am no longer a child in an unsafe home, but anxiety became habit. My brain is conditioned. I worry. I recheck everything obsessively. Is the seat belt fastened, are the reservations correct, is my passport in my purse? Have I done something wrong? Have I said something wrong? I'm sorry - whatever happened must be my fault. Is everyone all right, and if they aren't, how can I step in? That brilliant serenity prayer: God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. To all the children of alcoholics I want to say, Good luck with that. If I don't do it myself, it won't get done (this belief is often rewarded in this increasingly incompetent world). Also, I panic easily. I am not the person you want sitting in the exit row of an airplane. And distrust. Just in general, distrust. Irony. Irony, according to the dictionary, is the use of comedy to distance oneself from emotion. I developed it as a child lickety-split. Irony was armor, a way to stick it to Mom. You think you can get me? Come on, shoot me, aim that arrow straight at my heart. It can't make a dent because I'm wearing irony.
Delia Ephron (Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc.)
All those beings who revealed truths to me and who were no longer there, seemed to me to have lived a life from which I alone profited and as though they had died for me. It was sad for me to think that in my book, my love which was once everything to me, would be so detached from a being that various readers would apply it textually to the love they experienced for other women. But why should I be horrified by this posthumous infidelity, that this man or that should offer unknown women as the object of my sentiment, when that infidelity, that division of love between several beings began with my life and long before I began writing? I had indeed suffered successively through Gilberte, through Mme de Guermantes, through Albertine. Successively also I had forgotten them and only my love, dedicated at different times to different beings, had lasted. I had anticipated the profanation of my memories by unknown readers. I was not far from being horrified with myself as, perhaps, some nationalist party might be in whose name hostilities had been provoked and who alone had benefited from a war in which many noble victims had suffered and died without even knowing the issue of the struggle which, for my grandmother, would have been such a complete reward. And the single consolation she never knew, that at last I had set to work, was, such being the fate of the dead, that though she could not rejoice in my progress she had at least been spared consciousness of my long inactivity, of the frustrated life which had been such a pain to her. And certainly there were many others besides my grandmother and Albertine from whom I had assimilated a word, a glance, but of whom as individual beings I remembered nothing; a book is a great cemetery in which, for the most part, the names upon the tombs are effaced.
Marcel Proust (Time Regained)
He glanced down at her, keeping his expression carefully impassive. “I hate to leave you.” There was a gently mocking edge to his tone. “You need someone to follow you around and keep you safe from mishaps. On the other hand, you also need someone to find a beekeeper.” Realizing he was not going to talk about Leo, Amelia followed his lead. “Will you do that for us? I would consider it a great favor.” “Of course. Although…” His eyes held a wicked glitter. “As I mentioned before, I can’t keep doing favors for you with no reward. A man needs incentive.” “If … if you want money, I’ll be glad to—” “God, no.” Rohan was laughing now. “I don’t want money.” Reaching out, he smoothed back her hair, letting the heel of his hand graze the edge of her cheekbone. The brush of his skin was light and erotic, causing her to swallow hard. “Goodbye, Miss Hathaway. I’ll see myself out.” He flashed a smile at her and advised, “Stay away from the windows.” On the way down the stairs, Rohan passed Merripen, who was ascending at a measured pace. Merripen’s face darkened at the sight of the visitor. “What are you doing here?” “It seems I’m helping with pest eradication.” “Then you can begin by leaving,” Merripen growled. Rohan only grinned nonchalantly, and continued on his way.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
There was a sentence in your letter that struck me, “I wish I were far away from everything, I am the cause of all, and bring only sorrow to everybody, I alone have brought all this misery on myself and others.” These words struck me because that same feeling, just the same, not more nor less, is also on my conscience. When I think of the past, - when I think of the future of almost invincible difficulties, of much and difficult work, which I do not like, which I, or rather my evil self, would like to shirk; when I think the eyes of so many are fixed on me, - who will know where the fault is, if I do not succeed, who will not make me trivial reproaches, but as they are well tried and trained in everything that is right and virtuous and fine gold, they will say, as it were by the expression of their faces: we have helped you and have been a light unto you, - we have done for you what we could, have you tried honestly? what is now our reward and the fruit of our labour? See! when I think of all this, and of so many other things like it, too numerous to name them all, of all the difficulties and cares that do not grow less when we advance in life, of sorrow, of disappointment, of the fear of failure, of disgrace, - then I also have the longing - I wish I were far away from everything
Vincent van Gogh
There's one thing you ought to know about old people," Alberto Terégo told me on our early morning walk on the beach. "Like what?" I asked my friend in reply. "Like old people don't mind if you kill them," Terégo said. "Just don't give them any more crap while you're doing it." "Are you talking about yourself?" I said. "You're telling me you'd rather have someone kill you than give you a hard time?” My head was starting to hurt. It usually did when I talked with Terégo, but never so soon into our daily conservation. He was grinning now, knowing he had me again. I just stared at him. He has this uncanny knack of making me feel he's laid a booby trap of punji sticks on which I'm about to impale myself. “That's ridiculous," I said finally, feeling like a kid for not being able to come up with a better response to his bizarre suggestion. “No, it's life,” Terégo said, his grin growing larger. “What's life?” I said. “Taking crap,” he said. "Taking crap is life?" I said. The grin hung ear to ear now. “It's what nice people do,” Terégo said. “There's an 18th century proverb that says we all have to eat a peck of dirt before we die. We do it from an early age, so old people have been doing it for a very long time, way beyond the proverbial amount that broke the camel's back.” “Eating dirt is life?” I said, feeling the pain grow under my arched eyebrows. "That's right," he said. "Eating dirt?" I repeated dully. "We do it to be team players, so we don’t rock the boat, to go with the flow," Terégo said. "We put up, shut up, get along--no matter what--with people even the Dalai Lama would slap silly. We defer to their foolishness, stupidity, biases, racism, ego, telling them what they want to hear, keeping quiet when we ought to be speaking up loud and clear. We put a sock in it even though it chokes us. We do it so we won’t offend, to fit in, be neighborly, sociable, kind. We do it so people will like us, love and reward and hire and promote us. We do it to be successful, secure, happy." "We eat dirt to be happy," I said, my eyes starting to glaze over like frost on window panes in deep winter. "You see the supreme irony in that," Terégo said, the triumph in his voice almost palpable, galling me no end.
Lionel Fisher (Celebrating Time Alone: Stories Of Splendid Solitude)
Yet there can never be happiness in compulsion. It is not enough for love to be shared: it must be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken. Unselfish love that is poured out upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved. And if the one loved receives love selfishly, the lover is not satisfied. He sees that his love has failed to make the beloved happy. It has not awakened his capacity for unselfish love. Hence the paradox that unselfish love cannot rest perfectly except in a love that is perfectly reciprocated: because it knows that the only true peace is found in selfless love. Selfless love consents to be loved selflessly for the sake of the beloved. In so doing, it perfects itself. The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So, love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.   2. Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two. It has only one good, that of the beloved, which is, at the same time, my own. Love shares the good with another not by dividing it with him, but by identifying itself with him so that his good becomes my own. The same good is enjoyed in its wholeness by two in one spirit, not halved and shared by two souls. Where love is really disinterested, the lover does not even stop to inquire whether he can safely appropriate for himself some part of the good which he wills for his friend. Love seeks its whole good in the good of the beloved, and to divide that good would be to diminish love. Such a division would not only weaken the action of love, but in doing so would also diminish its joy. For love does not seek a joy that follows from its effect: its joy is in the effect itself, which is the good of the beloved. Consequently, if my love be pure I do not even have to seek for myself the satisfaction of loving. Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
Confession I love you – I love you, e’en as I Rage at myself for this obsession, And as I make my shamed confession, Despairing at your feet I lie. I know, I know – It ill becomes me, I am too old, time to be wise … But how? … This love – it overcomes me, A sickness this in passion’s guise. When you are near I’m filled with sadness, When far, I yawn, for life’s a bore. I must pour out this love, this madness, There’s nothing that I long for more! When your shirts rustle, when, my angel, Your girlish voice I hear, when your Light step sounds in the parlour – strangely, I turn confused, perturbed, unsure. Your frown – and I’m in pain, I languish; You smile – and joy defeats distress; My one reward for a day’s anguish Comes when your, pale hand, love, I kiss. When you sit, bent over your sewing, Your eyes cast down and fine curls blowing. About your face, with tenderness I like childlike watch, my heart o’erflowing With love, in my gaze a caress. Shall I my jealousy and yearning Describe, my bitterness and woe When by yourself on some bleak morning Off on a distant walk you go, Or with another spend the evening And, with him near, the piano play, Or for Opochka leave, or, grieving Weep and in silence, pass the day? Alina! Pray relent have mercy! I dare not ask for love – with all My many sins, both great and small, I am perhaps of love unworthy! But if feigned love, if you would Pretend, you’d easily deceive me, For happily would I, believe me, Deceive myself if but I could!
Alexander Pushkin
From that point of view he gazed at the Oriental beauty he had not seen before. It seemed strange to him that his long-felt wish, which had seemed unattainable, had at last been realized. In the clear morning light he gazed now at the city and now at the plan, considering its details, and the assurance of possessing it agitated and awed him. "But could it be otherwise?" he thought. "Here is this capital at my feet. Where is Alexander now, and of what is he thinking? A strange, beautiful, and majestic city; and a strange and majestic moment! In what light must I appear to them!" thought he, thinking of his troops. "Here she is, the reward for all those fainthearted men," he reflected, glancing at those near him and at the troops who were approaching and forming up. "One word from me, one movement of my hand, and that ancient capital of the Tsars would perish. But my clemency is always ready to descend upon the vanquished. I must be magnanimous and truly great. But no, it can't be true that I am in Moscow," he suddenly thought. "Yet here she is lying at my feet, with her golden domes and crosses scintillating and twinkling in the sunshine. But I shall spare her. On the ancient monuments of barbarism and despotism I will inscribe great words of justice and mercy… . It is just this which Alexander will feel most painfully, I know him." (It seemed to Napoleon that the chief import of what was taking place lay in the personal struggle between himself and Alexander.) "From the height of the Kremlin—yes, there is the Kremlin, yes—I will give them just laws; I will teach them the meaning of true civilization, I will make generations of boyars remember their conqueror with love. I will tell the deputation that I did not, and do not, desire war, that I have waged war only against the false policy of their court; that I love and respect Alexander and that in Moscow I will accept terms of peace worthy of myself and of my people. I do not wish to utilize the fortunes of war to humiliate an honored monarch. 'Boyars,' I will say to them, 'I do not desire war, I desire the peace and welfare of all my subjects.' However, I know their presence will inspire me, and I shall speak to them as I always do: clearly, impressively, and majestically. But can it be true that I am in Moscow? Yes, there she lies.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace : Complete and Unabridged)
To come back to the question, the wise man, self-sufficient as he is, still desires to have a friend if only for the purpose of practising friendship and ensuring that those talents are not idle. Not, as Epicurus put it in the same letter, ‘for the purpose of having someone to come and sit beside his bed when he is ill or come to his rescue when he is hard up or thrown into chains’, but so that on the contrary he may have someone by whose sickbed he himself may sit or whom he may himself release when that person is held prisoner by hostile hands. Anyone thinking of his own interests and seeking out friendship with this in view is making a great mistake. Things will end as they began; he has secured a friend who is going to come to his aid if captivity threatens: at the first clank of a chain that friend will disappear. These are what are commonly called fair-weather friendships. A person adopted as a friend for the sake of his usefulness will be cultivated only for so long as he is useful. This explains the crowd of friends that clusters about successful men and the lonely atmosphere about the ruined – their friends running away when it comes to the testing point; it explains the countless scandalous instances of people deserting or betraying others out of fear for themselves. The ending inevitably matches the beginning: a person who starts being friends with you because it pays him will similarly cease to be friends because it pays him to do so. If there is anything in a particular friendship that attracts a man other than the friendship itself, the attraction of some reward or other will counterbalance that of the friendship. What is my object in making a friend? To have someone to be able to die for, someone I may follow into exile, someone for whose life I may put myself up as security and pay the price as well. The thing you describe is not friendship but a business deal, looking to the likely consequences, with advantage as its goal. There can be no doubt that the desire lovers have for each other is not so very different from friendship – you might say it was friendship gone mad. Well, then, does anyone ever fall in love with a view to a profit, or advancement, or celebrity? Actual love in itself, heedless of all other considerations, inflames people’s hearts with a passion for the beautiful object, not without the hope, too, that the affection will be mutual. How then can the nobler stimulus of friendship be associated with any ignoble desire?
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
I've read every letter that you've sent me these past two years. In return, I've sent you many form letters, with the hope of one day being able to give you the proper response you deserve. But the more letters you wrote to me, and the more of yourself you gave, the more daunting my task became. I'm sitting beneath a pear tree as I dictate this to you, overlooking the orchards of a friend's estate. I've spent the past few days here, recovering from some medical treatment that has left me physically and emotionally depleted. As I moped about this morning, feeling sorry for myself, it occurred to me, like a simple solution to an impossible problem: today is the day I've been waiting for. You asked me in your first letter if you could be my protege. I don't know about that, but I would be happy to have you join me in Cambridge for a few days. I could introduce you to my colleagues, treat you to the best curry outside India, and show you just how boring the life of an astrophysicist can be. You can have a bright future in the sciences, Oskar. I would be happy to do anything possible to facilitate such a path. It's wonderful to think what would happen if you put your imagination toward scientific ends. But Oskar, intelligent people write to me all the time. In your fifth letter you asked, "What if I never stop inventing?" That question has stuck with me. I wish I were a poet. I've never confessed that to anyone, and I'm confessing it to you, because you've given me reason to feel that I can trust you. I've spent my life observing the universe, mostly in my mind's eye. It's been a tremendously rewarding life, a wonderful life. I've been able to explore the origins of time and space with some of the great living thinkers.But I wish I were a poet. Albert Einstein, a hero of mine, once wrote, "Our situation is the following. We are standing in front of a closed box which we cannot open." I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the vast majority of the universe is composed of dark matter. The fragile balance depends on things we'll never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Life itself depends on them. What's real? What isn't real? Maybe those aren't the right questions to be asking. What does life depend on? I wish I had made things for life to depend on. What if you never stop inventing? Maybe you're not inventing at all. I'm being called in for breakfast, so I'll have to end this letter here. There's more I want to tell you, and more I want to hear from you. It's a shame we live on different continents. One shame of many. It's so beautiful at this hour. The sun is low, the shadows are long, the air is cold and clean. You won't be awake for another five hours, but I can't help feeling that we're sharing this clear and beautiful morning. Your friend, Stephen Hawking
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)