Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.
As I stood outside in Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
No ... eight days a week.
Alan Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1))
...Bringing the very heavens close enough to touch.
It was Zsadist.
His eyes closed, his head back, his mouth wide open, he sang.
The scarred one, the souless one, had the voice of an angel.
J.R. Ward (Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1))
Please,” Alec said, pulling out his stele. “I can read your face like a very open, very pornographic book. I wish I couldn’t.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
I believe death is only a door. One closes, and another opens. If I were to imagine heaven, I would imagine a door opening. And he would be waiting for me there.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
John Milton (Paradise Lost)
Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues. Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace but their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude - and destroy if possible - those who, by the simple fact of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts. Blessed be the one at whom the fools bark, because his soul will never belong to them.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.
And so it is with science.
Richard P. Feynman
She'd grown up inside books. No matter how dark life became, shutting out the hurt was as easy as opening a cover. A child of murdered parents and a failed rebellion, she'd still walked in the boots of scholars and warriors, queens and conquerors.
The heavens grant us only one life, but through books, we live a thousand.
Jay Kristoff (Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2))
We throw our parties; we abandon our families to live alone in Canada; we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep. It's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out windows, or drown themselves, or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us are slowly devoured by some disease, or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) know these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so...
Michael Cunningham (The Hours)
Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.
Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)
There is just this for consolation: an hour here or there, when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined , though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning, we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so.
Michael Cunningham (The Hours)
Stars. Or rather, the drains of heaven – waiting. Little holes. Little centuries opening just enough for us to slip through.
Ocean Vuong (Night Sky with Exit Wounds)
Suddenly reminded, she clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh—Simon!"
"No, I'm Jace," said Jace patiently. "Simon is the weaselly little one with the bad haircut and dismal fashion sense."
"Oh, shut up," she replied, but it was more automatic than heartfelt. "I meant to call before I went to sleep. See if he got home okay."
Shaking his head, Jace regarded the heavens as if they were about to open up and reveal the secrets of the universe. "With everything that's going on, you're worried about Weasel Face?"
"Don't call him that. He doesn't look like a weasel."
"You may be right," said Jace. "I've met an attractive weasel or two in my time. He looks more like a rat.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
... A hot shower is going to feel heavenly."
He raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to go first."
"No, you go ahead."
His eyes twinkled as he regarded me, "It would be more heavenly if you told me you wanted to conserve water."
My mouth opened in shock. "Kishan!"
He winked at me. "I didn't think so. Can't blame a guy for trying.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Quest (The Tiger Saga, #2))
So, I looked up, and we were in this giant dome like a glass snowball, and Mark said that the amazing white stars were really only holes in the black glass of the dome, and when you went to heaven, the glass broke away, and there was nothing but a whole sheet of star white, which is brighter than anything but doesn't hurt your eyes. It was vast and open and thinly quiet, and I felt so small.
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
We could—” he started, then stopped, swallowed, and started again. “We could become parabatai.”
He said it shyly, half-turning his face away from her, so that the shadows partially hid his expression.
“Then they couldn’t separate us,” he added. “Not ever.”
Emma felt her heart turn over. “Jules, being parabatai is a big deal,” she said. “It’s—it’s forever.”
He looked at her, his face open and guileless. There was no trickery in Jules, no darkness. “Aren’t we forever?” he asked.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Because that's what heaven is...it's opening the door of a house in twilight and everyone you love is there.
Justin Cronin (The Twelve (The Passage, #2))
A plate of apples, an open fire, and a jolly good book are a fair substitute for heaven.
I do this thing for Rosie, you sleep with me"
I stared at him, open-mouthed and in stunned silence.
I did, of course, understand what he meant but he explained further.
"Not like last night, we'll both be naked and sexual acts will be performed."
My expression didn't change except maybe my mouth opened wider.
"I'll expect your participation."
"Your avid participation."
Dear Lord in Heaven.
Eventually, I whispered, "You must be joking."
He shook his head and watched me.
I dropped my eyes, unable to hold his stqare.
"I think I need more coffee," I told his throat.
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick (Rock Chick, #1))
Not much had changed at Magnus’s since the first time Jace had been there. Jace used an open rune to get through the front door and took the stairs, buzzing Magnus’s apartment bell. It was safer that way because Magnus could be playing video games naked or really anything. Magnus yanked the door open, looking furious. He was wearing a black silk dressing gown, his feet were bare, his dark hair was tangled, “What are you doing here?”
“My,” said Jace, “You’re so unwelcoming.”
“That’s because you’re not welcome.”
“I thought we were friends,” said Jace.
“No, you’re Alec’s friend, Alec was my boyfriend so I had to put up with you. But now he’s not my boyfriend so I don’t have to put up with you.”
“I think you should get back together with Alec,” said Jace.
Magnus looked at him, “And why is that?
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
I mean, d'you know what eternity is? There's this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there's this little bird-"
-"What little bird?" said Aziraphale suspiciously.
-"This little bird I'm talking about. And every thousand years-"
-"The same bird every thousand years?"
-Crowley hesitated. "Yeah," he said.
-"Bloody ancient bird, then."
-"Okay. And every thousand years this bird flies-"
-"-flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak-"
-"Hold on. You can't do that. Between here and the end of the universe there's loads of-" The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily. "Loads of buggerall, dear boy."
-"But it gets there anyway," Crowley persevered.
-"It doesn't matter!"
-"It could use a space ship," said the angel.
Crowley subsided a bit. "Yeah," he said. "If you like. Anyway, this bird-"
-"Only it is the end of the universe we're talking about," said Aziraphale. "So it'd have to be one of those space ships where your descendants are the ones who get out at the other end. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you've got to-" He hesitated. "What have
they got to do?"
-"Sharpen its beak on the mountain," said Crowley. "And then it flies back-"
-"-in the space ship-"
-"And after a thousand years it goes and does it all again," said Crowley quickly.
There was a moment of drunken silence.
-"Seems a lot of effort just to sharpen a beak," mused Aziraphale.
-"Listen," said Crowley urgently, "the point is that when the bird has worn the mountain down to nothing, right, then-"
Aziraphale opened his mouth. Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds' beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly.
-"-then you still won't have finished watching The Sound of Music."
-"And you'll enjoy it," Crowley said relentlessly. "You really will."
-"My dear boy-"
-"You won't have a choice."
-"Heaven has no taste."
-"And not one single sushi restaurant."
A look of pain crossed the angel's suddenly very serious face.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
There are such moments in life, when, in order for heaven to open, it is necessary for a door to close.
José Saramago (The Cave)
Open yourself to an encounter with heaven, be as a little child. Release your desire to the winds of the universe. Trust your angels to catch your wish and bring it to you in a delightfully surprising way.” - Doreen Virtue
After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons — the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.
And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotuslands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn't in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of the wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn't die...
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
We were dreamers, both of us, unpractical, reserved, full of great theories never put to test, and like all dreamers, asleep to the waking world. Disliking our fellow men, we craved affection; but shyness kept impulse dormant until the heart was touched. When that happened the heavens opened, and we felt, the pair of us, that we have the whole wealth of the universe to give. We would have both survived, had we been other men.
Daphne du Maurier (My Cousin Rachel)
Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-colored puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-colored minds.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
When he finally opened his eyes he saw her sit up
and smile at him. She was beautiful, her dark hair was
tousled, and her green eyes glimmered. God have mercy.
He’d died and gone to heaven.
Elizabeth Reyes (Forever Mine (The Moreno Brothers, #1))
The Red Poppy
The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.
A woman gasped. Through the open door I could see a sliver of carolers, some faces peering inside at the scattered tatters of money, some faces turned to the sky and the snow, now beginning to fall. And there, in front of them, in the room with us, stood the family, their outlines barely visible within the weight of the rooms light. It was a light that shone over our faces, our wounds and scars. It was a light so brilliant and white it could have been beamed from heaven, and Brian and I could have been angels basking in it. But it wasn’t and we weren’t.
While this is all very amusing, the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires,” she said. “Only that and nothing more.”
Jace’s heart started to pound. He met the Queen’s eyes with his own. “Why are you doing this?”
… “Desire is not always lessened by disgust…And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn’t desire your kiss, she won’t be free.”
“You don’t have to do this, Clary, it’s a trick—” (Simon)
...Isabelle sounded exasperated. ‘Who cares, anyway? It’s just a kiss.”
“That’s right,” Jace said. Clary looked up, then finally, and her wide green eyes rested on him. He moved toward her... and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him… He could feel the tension in his own body, the effort of holding back, of not pulling her against him and taking this one chance, however dangerous and stupid and unwise, and kissing her the way he had thought he would never, in his life, be able to kiss her again. “It’s just a kiss,” he said, and heard the roughness in his own voice, and wondered if she heard it, too.
Not that it mattered—there was no way to hide it. It was too much. He had never wanted like this before... She understood him, laughed when he laughed, saw through the defenses he put up to what was underneath. There was no Jace Wayland more real than the one he saw in her eyes when she looked at him… All he knew was that whatever he had to owe to Hell or Heaven for this chance, he was going to make it count.
He...whispered in her ear. “You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like,” he said.
Her eyes fluttered shut, her lashes coppery lines against her pale, fragile skin. “I’ve never even been to England,” she said, and the softness, the anxiety in her voice almost undid him. He had never kissed a girl without knowing she wanted it too, usually more than he did, and this was Clary, and he didn’t know what she wanted. Her eyes were still closed, but she shivered, and leaned into him — barely, but it was permission enough.
His mouth came down on hers. And that was it. All the self-control he’d exerted over the past weeks went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Her arms came up around his neck and he pulled her against him… His hands flattened against her back... and she was up on the tips of her toes, kissing him as fiercely as he was kissing her... He clung to her more tightly, knotting his hands in her hair, trying to tell her, with the press of his mouth on hers, all the things he could never say out loud...
His hands slid down to her waist... he had no idea what he would have done or said next, if it would have been something he could never have pretended away or taken back, but he heard a soft hiss of laughter — the Faerie Queen — in his ears, and it jolted him back to reality. He pulled away from Clary before he it was too late, unlocking her hands from around his neck and stepping back... Clary was staring at him. Her lips were parted, her hands still open. Her eyes were wide. Behind her, Alec and Isabelle were gaping at them; Simon looked as if he was about to throw up.
...If there had ever been any hope that he could have come to think of Clary as just his sister, this — what had just happened between them — had exploded it into a thousand pieces... He tried to read Clary’s face — did she feel the same? … I know you felt it, he said to her with his eyes, and it was half bitter triumph and half pleading. I know you felt it, too…She glanced away from him... He whirled on the Queen. “Was that good enough?” he demanded. “Did that entertain you?”
The Queen gave him a look: special and secretive and shared between the two of them. “We are quite entertained," she said. “But not, I think, so much as the both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear.
Make a hairbreadth difference, and Heaven and Earth are set apart;
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against.
The struggle between 'for' and 'against' is the mind's worst disease;
With his current mood, Elizabeth realized, she was going to have to make her own opening. Lifting her eyes to his enigmatic golden ones, she said quietly, “Ian, have you ever wanted something very badly-something that
was within your grasp-and yet you were afraid to reach out for it?”
Surprised by her grave question and her use of his name, Ian tried to ignore the jealousy that had been eating at him all night. “No,” he said, scrupulously keeping the curtness from his voice as he gazed down at her alluring face. “Why do you ask? Is there something you want?”
Her gaze fell from his, and she nodded at his frilled white shirtfront.
“What is it you want?”
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Grant that I may worship and pray unto Thee with as much reverence and godly fear, as if I saw the heavens open and all the angels that stand around Thy throne. Amen.
William Law (A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life)
The heavens opened for the sunset to-night. When I had thought the day folded and sealed, came a burst of heavenly bright petals.
Katherine Mansfield (Journal of Katherine Mansfield)
The gifts of the Master are these: freedom, life, hope, new direction, transformation, and intimacy with God. If the cross was the end of the story, we would have no hope. But the cross isn't the end. Jesus didn't escape from death; he conquered it and opened the way to heaven for all who will dare to believe. The truth of this moment, if we let it sweep over us, is stunning. It means Jesus really is who he claimed to be, we are really as lost as he said we are, and he really is the only way for us to intimately and spiritually connect with God again.
Steven James (Story)
We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to convey them. Peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word, or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence and start a war. And one right word, or one kind word, can grant you the heavens and open doors.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Brynne was my heaven. I’d seek out my heaven endlessly.
Raine Miller (Eyes Wide Open (The Blackstone Affair, #3))
But even more heavenly than the flashing
stars are those infinite eyes which the night opens within us, and which see further even than the palest of those
Novalis (Hymns to the Night)
The same hand that stilled the seas stills your guilt.
The same hand that cleansed the Temple cleanses your heart.
The hand is the hand of God.
The nail is the nail of God.
And as the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.
Max Lucado (He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart)
You are Joseph the dreamer of dreams, dear Jude.
And a tragic Don Quixote. And sometimes you are St. Stephen, who, while they
were stoning him, could see Heaven opened. Oh, my poor friend and comrade,
you'll suffer yet!
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
…and suddenly I love you beyond all measure is not just words but a heart, a soul bursting open, a stripping raw of all pretense. It is Sully, it is Gabriel, it is his tears on my face, his body in mine, our minds seamless. It is hopes and dreams and failures. It is apologies and a prayer for redemption. It is heaven and damnation.
All that I am is yours pales beside it.
It is everything.
It is love.
Linnea Sinclair (Shades of Dark (Dock Five Universe, #2))
I was the one with the open wound, and the river waters turned red when I bathed in them. My sadness is greater than the heavens.
Laura Restrepo (The Angel of Galilea)
There's a legend about that clock. For a second, when it chimes the hour, the gates to Heaven open.
Cassandra Clare (Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2))
And, when the friendly sunshine smil'd, / And she would mark the opening skies, / I saw no Heaven--but in her eyes.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
Managing stress is about controlling the way you respond to events and having an open mind about the things that stress you. Learn to talk to God during the day and ask Him to give you peace and to help you with your problems
Michele Woolley (God's Favor - Breath Of Heaven)
Often the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits remove the scales from our spiritual eyes and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer we often find the answer to our own.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
And right here
All the way in Battery City
The little children
Raise their open filthy palms
Like tiny daggers up to heaven
And all the juvee halls
And the Ritalin rats
Ask angels made from neon
And fucking garbage
Scream out, "What will save us?"
And the sky opened up
Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted island, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.
Existence is beyond the power of words
Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,
Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees to the core of life
Sees the surface,
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them seem different
Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
From wonder into wonder
The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.
But the Gospels actually taught this:
Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.
The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:
Oh, boy–they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch _that_ time!
And that thought had a brother: “There are right people to lynch.” Who? People not well connected. So it goes.
The visitor from outer space made a gift to the Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.
So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn’t possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.
And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son, giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
And it was at that age... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.
Pablo Neruda (Selected Poems)
Well, sometime Mr —— git on me pretty hard. I have to talk to Old Maker. But he my husband. I shrug my shoulders. This life soon be over, I say. Heaven last all ways.
You ought to bash Mr —— head open, she say. Think bout heaven later.
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
Yielding flesh in his hands, hot with fear, sticky with sweat and blood and already smelling of heaven. Helpless bones his to crack, helpless skin his to rip open, sweet red river his to drink from. He had to do it. He had to know. With his eyes and his hands, with all his body, he had to see.
Poppy Z. Brite
believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it.
I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.
The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it.
I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look.
Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted.
Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is.
You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural.
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
This is the story of a man named Eddie and it starts at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It may seem strange to start a story with and ending, but all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.
Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now or being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to the God who is already here.
Marcus J. Borg (The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith)
We are all blessed ones. Heaven is no longer in the clouds. It is right here, all around us, everywhere; we must only open our eyes to see it.
Kim Chestney (The Psychic Workshop: A Complete Program for Fulfilling Your Spiritual Potential)
Every morning the maple leaves.
Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts
from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big
and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out
You will be alone always and then you will die.
So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog
of non-definitive acts,
something other than the desperation.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party
and seduced you
and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing.
You want a better story. Who wouldn’t?
A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing.
Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on.
What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon.
Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly
I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure,
I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
glass, but that comes later.
Let me do it right for once,
for the record, let me make a thing of cream and stars that becomes,
you know the story, simply heaven.
Inside your head you hear a phone ringing
and when you open your eyes
only a clearing with deer in it. Hello deer.
Inside your head the sound of glass,
a car crash sound as the trucks roll over and explode in slow motion.
Hello darling, sorry about that.
Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we
lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell
and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud.
Especially that, but I should have known.
Inside your head you hear
a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up
in a stranger’s bathroom,
standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away
from the dirtiest thing you know.
All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly
suddenly only darkness.
In the living room, in the broken yard,
in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport
bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of
my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away.
I arrived in the city and you met me at the station,
smiling in a way
that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade,
up the stairs of the building
to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things,
I looked out the window and said
This doesn’t look that much different from home,
because it didn’t,
but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights.
We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too,
smiling and crying in a way that made me
even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I
just couldn’t say it out loud.
Actually, you said Love, for you,
is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s
terrifying. No one
will ever want to sleep with you.
Okay, if you’re so great, you do it—
here’s the pencil, make it work …
If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window
is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing
Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently
we have had our difficulties and there are many things
I want to ask you.
I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again,
years later, in the chlorinated pool.
I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have
I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together.
I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes.
Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you.
Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again
on an open sky.
has to be
so you can find
the one line
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.
Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!
Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.
The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.
The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.
Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven's river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)
When the sun shall be folded up; and when the stars shall fall; and when the mountains shall be made to pass away; and when the camels ten months gone with young shall be neglected; and when the seas shall boil; and when the souls shall be joined again to their bodies; and when the girl who hath been buried alive shall be asked for what crime she was put to death; and when the books shall be laid open; and when the heavens shall be removed; and when hell shall burn fiercely; and when paradise shall be brought near: every soul shall know what it hath wrought.
Anonymous (القرآن الكريم)
Every night in my dreams, a man appeared from the darkest recesses of my mind, as if he'd been waiting for me to fall asleep. His mouth, full, masculine, would sear my flesh. His tongue, like flames across my skin, would send tiny sparks quaking through my body. Then he would dip south, and the heavens would open and a chorus singing hallelujah would ring out in perfect harmony.
Darynda Jones (First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1))
His manual of heaven and hell lay open before me, and I could perceive my nothingness in this scheme.
William Golding (The Spire)
Hope builds a stairway to Heaven. Fear opens an abyss to Hell.
Karen Marie Moning (Feversong (Fever, #9))
It's okay to laugh, you know. The earth's not going to split open. You're not going to hell. Believe me. If there's a hell, I'll be there ahead of you, and they'll be too busy with me to even check you in.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last.
Olivia Laing (The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone)
Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2 Kings 6:16-17).
In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike--and they will--you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
I will miss her dearly, and I hope that she is up in heaven right now watching us and smiling, even though deep down I know that if there is an afterlife, she’s a pretty much open-and-shut case for hell.
Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns))
I'm not mad at you." He presses the cold cloth against my forehead. "I'm mad at myself. I did this. Well, Easton and I. I brought this on you. I'm Reed the Destroyer." He sounds sad. "Didn't you know that?"
"I don't like that name." He sits next to me, drawing the cloth around and around my face, down my neck and onto my shoulder. It feels heavenly.
"Yeah, and what would you call me instead?" I open my mouth and say, "Mine.
Erin Watt (Paper Princess (The Royals, #1))
. . . God is too busy making the sun come up and go down and watching so the moon floats just right in the sky to be concerned with color . . . only man wants always God should be there to condemn this one and save that one. Always it is man who wants to make heaven and hell. God is too busy training the bees to make honey and every morning opening up all the new flowers for business.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (The Power of One, #1))
And just for a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, wiht a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. - Sal Paradise
Jack Kerouac (On the Road: the Original Scroll)
It often occurs to me that if, against all odds, there is a judgmental God and heaven, it will come to pass that when the pearly gates open, those who had the valor to think for themselves will be escorted to the head of the line, garlanded, and given their own personal audience.
Edward O. Wilson
We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep. It's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out windows, or drown themselves, or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us are slowly devoured by some disease, or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds & expectations, to burst open & give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) know these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning, we hope, more than anything for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so.
Michael Cunningham (The Hours)
He pointed out to him the bearings of the coast, explained to him the variations of the compass, and taught him to read in that vast book opened over our heads which they call heaven, and where God writes in azure with letters of diamonds.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Having a dog or cat will open your heart. Reading a book will open your mind. Having both a pet & a book...absolute heaven.
We were fond together because of the sweep of open places, the taste of wide winds, the sunlight, and the hopes in which we worked. The morning freshness of the world-to-be intoxicated us. We were wrought up with ideas inexpressible and vaporous, but to be fought for. We lived many lives in those whirling campaigns, never sparing ourselves: yet when we achieved and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to remake in the likeness of the former world they knew. Youth could win, but had not learned to keep, and was pitiably weak against age. We stammered that we had worked for a new heaven and a new earth, and they thanked us kindly and made their peace.
T.E. Lawrence (Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph)
I don’t want to feed on my friends’ blood.”
“Why not?” Jace stepped past the fire and looked down at Simon; his expression was open and curious. “We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Last time you were starving, I gave you my blood. It was a little homoerotic, maybe, but I’m secure in my sexuality.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
We grew in age - and love - together
Roaming the forest, and the wild;
My breast her shield in wintry weather -
And, when the friendly sunshine smil'd,
And she would mark the opening skies,
I saw no Heaven - but in her eyes.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Poetry)
There is no less holiness at this time- as you are reading this- than there was on the day the Red Sea parted, or that day in the 30th year, in the 4th month, on the 5th day of the month as Ezekiel was a captive by the river Cheban, when the heavens opened and he saw visions of god. There is no whit less enlightenment under the tree at the end of your street than there was under Buddha’s bo tree…. In any instant the sacred may wipe you with its finger. In any instant the bush may flare, your feet may rise, or you may see a bunch of souls in trees.
Annie Dillard (For the Time Being)
Close your Koran.
Think in freedom and look with open mind
at Heaven and Earth. Forgive everyone his sins. Don't cause anyone grief.
I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
All right," she said in a low, determined voice. 'I'll go along with this. But you are not, under any circumstances, to refer to me again as 'the future Mrs. Bobby Tom,' do you understand? Because if you say that just once, just once, I will personally tell the entire world that our engagement is a fraud. Furthermore, I will announce that you are-are-" Her mouth opened and closed, She's stared out strong, but now she couldn't think of anything terrible enough to throw at him.
An ax murderer?" he offered helpfully.
When she didn't reply, he tried again. " A vegetarian?"
It came to her in a flash. "Impotent!
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars, #2))
Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: New International Version)
There is a fundamental reason why we look at the sky with wonder and longing—for the same reason that we stand, hour after hour, gazing at the distant swell of the open ocean. There is something like an ancient wisdom, encoded and tucked away in our DNA, that knows its point of origin as surely as a salmon knows its creek. Intellectually, we may not want to return there, but the genes know, and long for their origins—their home in the salty depths. But if the seas are our immediate source, the penultimate source is certainly the heavens… The spectacular truth is—and this is something that your DNA has known all along—the very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
True prayer is done in secret, but this does not rule out the fellowship of prayer altogether, however clearly we may be aware of its dangers. In the last resort it is immaterial whether we pray in the open street or in the secrecy of our chambers, whether briefly or lenghtily, in the Litany of the Church, or with the sigh of one who knows not what he should pray for. True prayer does not depend either on the individual or the whole body of the faithful, but solely upon the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows our needs.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
For a moment I hoped I was in heaven--or wherever it is my kind go when death calls...Instead I opened my eyes and discovered that I was in hospital. The flimsy little gown they'd put me in had tiny pink piggies on it. My first thought was that I had to have been in bad shape to be admitted. My second, I'm ashamed to admit, was whether or not they'd let me take the nightie home with me.
Kate Locke (God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1))
Giving tells the Universe that you believe you are provided for. For even as you empty your purse, you fear not. The act alone is a demonstration of faith that you will remain whole, that your coffers will be replenished, and that love is what matters most. And for whomsoever believes these things to be true, it shall become their reality, and abundance shall be showered upon them unceasingly, as if the heavens had opened up.
The chanting grew louder, deep male voice pumping.
She looked to the brothers, the tall, fierce men who were now part of her life. Wrath pivoted and put his arm around her. Together, they swayed to the rhythm that swelled, filling the air. The brothers were as one as they paid homage in their language, a single powerful entity.
But then, in a high, keening call, one voice broke out, lifting above the others, shooting higher and higher. The sound of the tenor was so clear, so pure, it brought shivers to the skin, a yearning warmth to the chest. The sweet notes blew the ceiling off with their glory, turning the chamber into cathedral, the brothers into a tabernacle.
Bringing the very heavens close enough to touch.
It was Zsadist.
His eys closed, his head back, his mouth wide open, he sang.
The scarred one, the soulless one, had the voice of an angel.
J.R. Ward (Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1))
There are times when a man has need of the open heavens to compass his thoughts.
Kathryn Worth (They Loved to Laugh)
Some communities don't permit open, honest inquiry about the things that matter most. Lots of people have voiced a concern, expressed a doubt, or raised a question, only to be told by their family, church, friends, or tribe: "We don't discuss those things here."
I believe the discussion itself is divine. Abraham does his best to bargain with God, most of the book of Job consists of arguments by Job and his friends about the deepest questions of human suffering, God is practically on trial in the book of Lamentations, and Jesus responds to almost every question he's asked with...a question.
Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)
Then she opened her eyes, Veronika did not think 'this must be heaven'. Heaven would never use a fluorescent tube to light a room, and the pain - which started a fraction of a second later - was typical of the Earth. Ah, that Earth pain - unique, unmistakable.
Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
The compelling truth of the Restoration is that the heavens are open. This Church is a Church of revelation. Our challenge is not one in getting the Lord to speak to us. Our challenge is learning to hear what He has to say.
Sheri Dew (Saying It Like It Is)
Follow the path that leads to understanding. Only then, will you illuminate the way for others. Once you open your mind and gain knowledge, truth, you'll leave the darkness and enter into the light of wisdom.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
If you ever want to see heaven, watch a bunch of young girls play. They are all sweat and skinned knees. Energy and open faces.
it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Alan Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1))
Sing to your mountains because as you sing, they are being cast into the sea.As you sing, the portals of heaven are opening.
Sherry K. White
You're not getting it," Eddie gently replied. "I needed to save you. It let me make up for the life I took. That's how salvation works. The wrongs we do open doors to do right.
Mitch Albom (The Next Person You Meet in Heaven)
The blessing hands of Christ are like a roof that protects us. But at the same time, they are a gesture of opening up, tearing the world open so that heaven my enter in, may become "present" within it.
Benedict XVI (Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection)
Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?
But as in landlessness alone resides highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God- so better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)
Once in Hawaii I was taken to see a Buddhist temple. In the temple a man said, "I am going to tell you something that you will never forget." And then he said, "To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.
Richard P. Feynman (The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist)
You may have fallen down, but you can get back up again. You may have doors shut, but new doors will open for you. You may have been lied on, but the truth will come to the light. You may have been hurt, but the pain will pass. You are a survivor. You have a history of surviving.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Heart Crush)
The very quality of your life, whether you love it or hate it, is based upon how thankful you are toward God. It is one's attitude that determines whether life unfolds into a place of blessedness or wretchedness. Indeed, looking at the same rose bush, some people complain that the roses have thorns while others rejoice that some thorns come with roses. It all depends on your perspective.
This is the only life you will have before you enter eternity. If you want to find joy, you must first find thankfulness. Indeed, the one who is thankful for even a little enjoys much. But the unappreciative soul is always miserable, always complaining. He lives outside the shelter of the Most High God.
Perhaps the worst enemy we have is not the devil but our own tongue. James tells us, "The tongue is set among our members as that which . . . sets on fire the course of our life" (James 3:6). He goes on to say this fire is ignited by hell. Consider: with our own words we can enter the spirit of heaven or the agonies of hell!
It is hell with its punishments, torments and misery that controls the life of the grumbler and complainer! Paul expands this thought in 1 Corinthians 10:10, where he reminds us of the Jews who "grumble[d] . . . and were destroyed by the destroyer." The fact is, every time we open up to grumbling and complaining, the quality of our life is reduced proportionally -- a destroyer is bringing our life to ruin!
People often ask me, "What is the ruling demon over our church or city?" They expect me to answer with the ancient Aramaic or Phoenician name of a fallen angel. What I usually tell them is a lot more practical: one of the most pervasive evil influences over our nation is ingratitude!
Do not minimize the strength and cunning of this enemy! Paul said that the Jews who grumbled and complained during their difficult circumstances were "destroyed by the destroyer." Who was this destroyer? If you insist on discerning an ancient world ruler, one of the most powerful spirits mentioned in the Bible is Abaddon, whose Greek name is Apollyon. It means "destroyer" (Rev. 9:11). Paul said the Jews were destroyed by this spirit. In other words, when we are complaining or unthankful, we open the door to the destroyer, Abaddon, the demon king over the abyss of hell!
In the Presence of God
Multitudes in our nation have become specialists in the "science of misery." They are experts -- moral accountants who can, in a moment, tally all the wrongs society has ever done to them or their group. I have never talked with one of these people who was happy, blessed or content about anything. They expect an imperfect world to treat them perfectly.
Truly, there are people in this wounded country of ours who need special attention. However, most of us simply need to repent of ingratitude, for it is ingratitude itself that is keeping wounds alive! We simply need to forgive the wrongs of the past and become thankful for what we have in the present.
The moment we become grateful, we actually begin to ascend spiritually into the presence of God. The psalmist wrote,
"Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. . . . Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 100:2, 4-5).
It does not matter what your circumstances are; the instant you begin to thank God, even though your situation has not changed, you begin to change. The key that unlocks the gates of heaven is a thankful heart. Entrance into the courts of God comes as you simply begin to praise the Lord.
Goodness, that stuff rips like paper,” she exclaimed, reaching to pull her tank top off. She was halfway through the action when the door opened and Alec walked into the room.
“Izzy, are you—” he began. His eyes flew wide, and he backed up fast enough to smack his head into the wall behind him. “What is he doing here?”
Isabelle tugged her tank top back down and glared at her brother. “You don’t knock now?”
“It—It’s my bedroom!” Alec spluttered. He seemed to be deliberately trying not to look at Izzy and Simon, who were indeed in a very compromising position.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Sensei says funerals are not really for the dead. They are for those left behind. "The dead are long gone by the time a funeral is held," he told us. "Who would wait when the doors of Heaven are open? Only the living would be foolish enough to still hang around on earth.
Sandy Fussell (Shaolin Tiger (Samurai Kids, #3))
...Wherever we go we carry this burden of our personal consciousness and wherever we step we open it out over our heads like a great baleful cotton umbrella to obstruct the prospect and obscure the light of heaven.
Those roads provided breath-taking views. There's something special about an empty road going on and on and on to the horizon where the sun burns the world away into a dancing, shmmering heat haze that reflects the crystal blue sky, literally blurring the line between heaven and earth.
We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to convey them. Peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word, or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence - and even start a war. And one right word, or one kind word, can grant you the heavens and open doors.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
There were now and then, though rarely, the hours that brought the welcome shock, pulled down the walls and brought me back again from my wanderings to the living heart of the world. Sadly and yet deeply moved, I set myself to recall the last of these experiences. It was at a concert of lovely old music. After two of three notes of the piano the door was opened of a sudden to the other world. I sped through heaven and saw God at work. I suffered holy pains. I dropped all my defenses and was afraid of nothing in the world. I accepted all things and to all things I gave up my heart.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
She had something Adam didn't. Curiosity. First step to growth -- and if it wasn't for Eve's Adam would still be sitting by the side of the pool picking his nose and scratching his scalp, bamboozled by his own reflection. Off in her part of Eden, Eve hadn't bothered naming the animals. On the other hand she'd discovered how to milk some of them and how best to eat the eggs of others. She'd decided she wasn't overly keen on torrential rain and had built a shelter from bamboo and banana leaves, into which she'd retire when the heavens opened, having set out coconut shells to catch the rainwater with a view to saving herself the schlep down to the spring every time she wanted a drink. The only thing you won't be surprised to hear about is that she'd already domesticated a cat and called it Misty.
Glen Duncan (I, Lucifer)
Today, Creator of the Universe, we ask that you open our heart and openour eyes so we can enjoy all of your creations and live in eternal lovewith you. Help us to see you in everything we perceive with our eyes,with our ears, with our heart, with all our senses. Let us perceivewith eyes of love so that we find you wherever we go and see you ineverything you create. Let us see you in every cell of our body, inevery emotion of our mind, in every dream, in every flower, in everyperson we meet. You cannot hide from us because you are everywhere, andwe are one with you. Let us be aware of this truth. Let us be aware ofour power to create a dream of heaven where everything is possible.Help us to use our imagination to guide the dream of our life, themagic of our creation, so we can live without fear, without anger,without jealousy, without envy. Give us a light to follow, and lettoday be the day that our search for love and happiness is over. Todaylet something extraordinary happen that will change our life forever:Let everything we do and say be an expression of the beauty in ourheart, always based on love. Help us to be the way you are, to love the way you love, to share the way you share, to create a masterpiece ofbeauty and love, the same way that all of your creations aremasterpieces of beauty and love. Beginning today and gradually overtime, help us to increase the power of our love so that we may create amasterpiece of art - our own life. Today, Creator, we give you all ofour gratitude and love because you have given us Life. Amen.
Miguel Ruiz (The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship --Toltec Wisdom Book)
If Christianity was only about finding a group of people to live life with who shared openly their search for God and allowed anyone regardless of behavior to seek too and who collectively lived by faith to make the world a little more like Heaven would you be interested ’ ‘Hell yes ’ was his reply. He continued ‘Are there churches like that
Hugh Halter & Matt Smay (The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community: The Posture and Practices of Ancient Church Now)
One time, two years ago, I took a draught of morphia, meaning to end my life. My mother found me before the life was ended, the doctor drew the poison from my stomach with a syringe, and when I woke, it was to the sound of my own weeping. For I had hoped to open my eyes on Heaven, where my father was; and they had only pulled me back to Hell.
Sarah Waters (Affinity)
Those who think of the Amazon as a Green Hell,” she read in an old book with a tattered spine, “bring only their own fears and prejudices to this amazing land. For whether a place is a hell or a heaven rests in yourself, and those who go with courage and an open mind may find themselves in Paradise.
Eva Ibbotson (Journey to the River Sea)
Opening the door, he nearly did a double take into the mirror behind
Hooch. Hooch, pushing his shades back up onto his head, and re-shouldering the bergan. Hooch, standing in the doorway.
Two words, more than usual.
“Been around a bit.”
Six, speech worthy of a national holiday.
“Looking for a station now.”
Eleven, whole fucking fireworks.
Thirteen, and the heavens came down for Matt.
“You still offering?”
Sixteen, and the world stopped spinning.
Matt stood thinking for a while, not a muscle in his face twitched. Then
stepped aside, gestured the other man to follow him. Closed the door.
Hooch’s brows rose for a split second.
Matt broke into a grin at last, which threatened to split his face. “Promise
not to talk too much.
Marquesate (Special Forces)
Venus of Eryx, from her mountain throne,
Saw Hades and clasped her swift-winged son, and said:
'Cupid, my child, my warrior, my power,
Take those sure shafts with which you conquer all,
And shoot your speedy arrows to the heart
Of the great god to whom the last lot fell
When the three realms were drawn. Your mastery
Subdues the gods of heaven and even Jove,
Subdues the ocean's deities and him,
Even him, who rules the ocean's deities.
Why should Hell lag behind? Why not there too
Extend your mother's empire and your own....?
Then Cupid, guided by his mother, opened
His quiver of all his thousand arrows
Selected one, the sharpest and the surest,
The arrow most obedient to the bow,
And bent the pliant horn against his knee
And shot the barbed shaft deep in Pluto's heart.
Do you have a pet bird?' I asked, looking around the room.
'Oh, heavens, no. I'd never cage a bird. I can't imagine a worse fate, can you? I bought this cage at a market in Peru several years ago. I hung it here and wired the door open to remind myself how delicious freedom is -- financial and otherwise.
Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt)
Every step you take, a million doors open in front of you like poppies; your next step closes them, and another million bloom. You get on a train, you pick up a lamp, you speak, you don’t. What decides why one thing gets picked to be the way it will be? Accident? Fate? Some weakness in ourselves? Forget your harps, your tin-foil angels—the only heaven worth having would be the heaven of answers.
Mark Slouka (Brewster)
She [the Virgin Mary] was normal. She had already had other children. The Bible tells us that Jesus had two brothers. Virginity, as it relates to Jesus, is based on a different thing: Mary initiated a new generation of grace. A new era began. She is the cosmic bride, Earth, which opens to the heavens and allows itself to be fertilized.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
I was born free, and that I might live in freedom I chose the solitude of the fields; in the trees of the mountains I find society, the clear waters of the brooks are my mirrors, and to the trees and waters I make known my thoughts and charms. I am a fire afar off, a sword laid aside. Those whom I have inspired with love by letting them see me, I have by words undeceived, and if their longings live on hope—and I have given none to Chrysostom or to any other—it cannot justly be said that the death of any is my doing, for it was rather his own obstinacy than my cruelty that killed him; and if it be made a charge against me that his wishes were honourable, and that therefore I was bound to yield to them, I answer that when on this very spot where now his grave is made he declared to me his purity of purpose, I told him that mine was to live in perpetual solitude, and that the earth alone should enjoy the fruits of my retirement and the spoils of my beauty; and if, after this open avowal, he chose to persist against hope and steer against the wind, what wonder is it that he should sink in the depths of his infatuation? If I had encouraged him, I should be false; if I had gratified him, I should have acted against my own better resolution and purpose. He was persistent in spite of warning, he despaired without being hated. Bethink you now if it be reasonable that his suffering should be laid to my charge. Let him who has been deceived complain, let him give way to despair whose encouraged hopes have proved vain, let him flatter himself whom I shall entice, let him boast whom I shall receive; but let not him call me cruel or homicide to whom I make no promise, upon whom I practise no deception, whom I neither entice nor receive. It has not been so far the will of Heaven that I should love by fate, and to expect me to love by choice is idle. Let this general declaration serve for each of my suitors on his own account, and let it be understood from this time forth that if anyone dies for me it is not of jealousy or misery he dies, for she who loves no one can give no cause for jealousy to any, and candour is not to be confounded with scorn. Let him who calls me wild beast and basilisk, leave me alone as something noxious and evil; let him who calls me ungrateful, withhold his service; who calls me wayward, seek not my acquaintance; who calls me cruel, pursue me not; for this wild beast, this basilisk, this ungrateful, cruel, wayward being has no kind of desire to seek, serve, know, or follow them. If Chrysostom's impatience and violent passion killed him, why should my modest behaviour and circumspection be blamed? If I preserve my purity in the society of the trees, why should he who would have me preserve it among men, seek to rob me of it? I have, as you know, wealth of my own, and I covet not that of others; my taste is for freedom, and I have no relish for constraint; I neither love nor hate anyone; I do not deceive this one or court that, or trifle with one or play with another. The modest converse of the shepherd girls of these hamlets and the care of my goats are my recreations; my desires are bounded by these mountains, and if they ever wander hence it is to contemplate the beauty of the heavens, steps by which the soul travels to its primeval abode.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
But the poetry of that kiss, the wonder of it, the magic that there was in life for hours after it--who can describe that? It is so easy for an Englishman to sneer at these chance collisions of human beings. To the insular cynic and the insular moralist they offer an equal opportunity. It is so easy to talk of "passing emotion," and how to forget how vivid the emotion was ere it passed. Our impulse to sneer, to forget, is at root a good one. We recognize that emotion is not enough, and that men and women are personalities capable of sustained relations, not mere opportunities for an electrical discharge. Yet we rate the impulse too highly. We do not admit that by collisions of this trivial sort the doors of heaven may be shaken open.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
Everybody has noticed the way cats stop and loiter in a half-open door. Hasn't everyone said to a cat: For heavens sake why don't you come in? With opportunity half-open in front of them, there are men who have a similar tendency to remain undecided between two solutions, at the risk of being crushed by fate abruptly closing the opportunity. The overprudent, cats as they are, and because they are cats, sometimes run more danger than the bold
Aestheticism and radicalism must lead us to jettison reason, and to replace it by a desperate hope for political miracles. This irrational attitude which springs from intoxication with dreams of a beautiful world is what I call Romanticism. It may seek its heavenly city in the past or in the future; it may preach ‘back to nature’ or ‘forward to a world of love and beauty’; but its appeal is always to our emotions rather than to reason. Even with the best intentions of making heaven on earth it only succeeds in making it a hell – that hell which man alone prepares for his fellow-men.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and its Enemies)
The problems raised by alcohol and tobacco cannot, it goes without saying, be solved by prohibition. The universal and ever-present urge to self-transcendence is not to be abolished by slamming the currently popular Doors in the Wall. The only reasonable policy is to open other, better doors in the hope of inducing men and women to exchange their old bad habits for new and less harmful ones.
Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell)
The grass whispered under his body. He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and, far away, below, his toes creaking in his shoes. The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere. Flowers were sun and fiery spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness. Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened.
I'm really alive! he thought. I never knew it before, or if I did I don't remember!
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine (Green Town, #1))
And when I look around the apartment where I now am,—when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of furniture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using,—when I think what I am to this family—everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet—if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel—or how long would they feel—the void which my loss would make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart of his beloved, there also he must perish,—vanish,—and that quickly.
I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent.
Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her!
I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing.
One hundred times have I been on the point of embracing her. Heavens! what a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it! And laying hold is the most natural of human instincts. Do not children touch everything they see? And I!
Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again! And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly; I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious Nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart,—I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
Spring. Blooms break forth from the startled earth. The sky laughs. The trees, abashed, dress themselves in verdant green. And the heavens are lush with starts. Redeem the time, the stars sing down. Redeem the dream.
And the boy waking in the land of broken rocks, the dry land wet with spring rain, waking in the place where two dreams cross--the dream where seeds grow into trees of gold and the dream of the box that he cannot open.
Rick Yancey (The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist, #3))
Heaven, such as it is, is right here on earth. Behold: my revelation: I stand at the door in the morning, and lo, there is a newspaper, in sight like unto an emerald. And holy, holy, holy is the coffee, which was, and is, and is to come. And hark, I hear the voice of an angel round about the radio saying, "Since my baby left me I found a new place to dwell." And lo, after this I beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, of shoes. And after these things I will hasten unto a taxicab and to a theater, where a ticket will be given unto me, and lo, it will be a matinee, and a film that doeth great wonders. And when it is finished, the heavens will open, and out will cometh a rain fragrant as myrrh, and yea, I have an umbrella.
Sarah Vowell (Take the Cannoli)
Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters.
No, no, wait.
Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods.
Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the road after the war.
Once upon a time there were three little pigs.
Once upon a time there were three brothers.
No, this is it. This is the variation I want.
Once upon a time there were three Beautiful children, two boys and a girl. When each baby was born, the parents rejoiced, the heavens rejoiced, even the fairies rejoiced. The fairies came to christening parties and gave the babies magical gifts.
Bounce, effort, and snark.
Contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.
Sugar, curiosity, and rain.
And yet, there was a witch.
There's always a witch.
This which was the same age as the beautiful children, and as she and they grew, she was jealous of the girl, and jealous of the boys, too. They were blessed with all these fairy gifts, gifts the witch had been denied at her own christening.
The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable and handsome. Though it's true, he was exceptionally short.
The next boy was studious and open hearted. Though it's true, he was an outsider.
And the girl was witty, Generous, and ethical. Though it's true, she felt powerless.
The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her. She was lonely. Her only strength was her dark and ugly magic.
She confuse being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them.
She confuse being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it.
She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts are making them think.
Hey magic was all she had, and she used it to destroy what she most admired. She visited each young person in turn in their tenth birthday, but did not harm them out right. The protection of some kind fairy - the lilac fairy, perhaps - prevented her from doing so.
What she did instead was cursed them.
"When you are sixteen," proclaimed the witch in a rage of jealousy, "you shall prick your finger on a spindle - no, you shall strike a match - yes, you will strike a match and did in its flame."
The parents of the beautiful children were frightened of the curse, and tried, as people will do, to avoid it. They moved themselves and the children far away, to a castle on a windswept Island. A castle where there were no matches.
There, surely, they would be safe.
There, Surely, the witch would never find them.
But find them she did. And when they were fifteen, these beautiful children, just before their sixteenth birthdays and when they're nervous parents not yet expecting it, the jealous which toxic, hateful self into their lives in the shape of a blonde meeting.
The maiden befriended the beautiful children. She kissed him and took them on the boat rides and brought them fudge and told them stories.
Then she gave them a box of matches.
The children were entranced, for nearly sixteen they have never seen fire.
Go on, strike, said the witch, smiling. Fire is beautiful. Nothing bad will happen.
Go on, she said, the flames will cleanse your souls.
Go on, she said, for you are independent thinkers.
Go on, she said. What is this life we lead, if you did not take action?
And they listened.
They took the matches from her and they struck them. The witch watched their beauty burn,
Their open hearts,
Their dreams for the future.
She watched it all disappear in smoke.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
I decided that mankind could live better without gods. If I disposed of them all, people could start having can openers and cans to open again, and things like that, without fearing the wrath of Heaven. We've stepped on these poor fools enough. I wanted to give them a chance to be free, to build what they wanted.
Roger Zelazny (Lord of Light)
A sense of great masses moving at visionary speeds, of giants dancing, of eternal sorrows consoled, of he knew not what and yet he had always known, awoke in him with the very first bass of the deep-mouthed dirge, and bowed down his spirit as if the gate of heaven had opened before him.
C.S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet (The Space Trilogy, #1))
Change always happens... We adjust to it. Somehow we figure out a way. We straighten what we can or learn how to like something a little crooked. That's how it is. Something breaks, you fix it as best you can. There's always a way to make something better, even if it means sweeping up the broken pieces and starting all over. That's how we keep moving, keep breathing, keep opening our eyes every morning, even when the only thing we know for sure is that we're still alive.
Susan Meissner (As Bright as Heaven)
She'll forgive me for defending myself as soon as she...gets back. And you had better hope that she is back by the next time those pretty black eyes open, because otherwise, I am going to have to get creative, and you probably aren't going to enjoy that, So shut your mouth, shut your eyes, and go to sleep, or I swear to Heaven, Hell, and all the worlds between, I will give you good reason to scream.
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Persistence of Memory)
Italy: Germany, Germany. Germany is a really really nice place. Even though I'm your prisoner, you give me food, and it doesn't suck like English food. Sausages with cheeses always taste so good, it'd be heaven for a dog - yeah that's Germany. Tell me how is it you Germans are so robust? You're crushing me with your intimidation, my fragility causes me to openly weep out of fear, your women terrify me. Is it the norm to drink a barrel of beer and then bust it on somebody's head? Please don't come to my place in large mobs, German tourists are scary. Even the girls that are from Germany are more rugged than I am. Yahoo!
If ever you have had a romantic, uncalculating friendship, - a boundless worship and belief in some hero of your soul, - if ever you have so loved, that all cold prudence, all selfish worldly considerations have gone down like drift-wood before a river flooded with new rain from heaven, so that you even forgot yourself, and were ready to cast your whole being into the chasm of existence, as an offering before the feet of another, and all for nothing, - if you awoke bitterly betrayed and deceived, still give thanks to God that you have had one glimpse of heaven. The door now shut will open again. Rejoice that the noblest capability of your eternal inheritance has been made known to you; treasure it, as the highest honor of your being, that ever you could so feel, -that so divine a guest ever possessed your soul.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)
I tramp the perpetual journey
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs,
and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we
be fill'd and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue
You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss
you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress
Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
Speaking of which,” he murmured.
Hyacinth’s mouth fell open as he dropped down to one
knee. “What are you doing?” she squeaked, frantically
looking this way and that. Lord St. Clair was surely peeking
out at them, and heaven only knew who else was, too.
“Someone will see,” she whispered.
He seemed unconcerned. “People will say we’re in
“I—” Good heavens, but how did a woman argue
“Hyacinth Bridgerton,” he said, taking her hand in his,
“will you marry me?”
She blinked in confusion. “I already said I would.”
“Yes, but as you said, I did not ask you for the right reasons.
They were mostly the right reasons, but not all.”
“I—I—” She was stumbling on the words, choking on
He was staring up at her, his eyes glowing clear and
blue in the dim light of the streetlamps. “I am asking you
to marry me because I love you,” he said
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
Sweet heaven.” She swallowed back a lump in her throat. “You must do this all the time. Night after night, you tell women your tale of woe . . .” “Not really. The tale of woe precedes me.” “ . . . and then they just open their arms and lift their skirts for you. ‘Come, you poor, sweet man, let me hold you’ and so forth. Don’t they?” He hedged. “Sometimes.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.
But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God's love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.
Richard J. Foster (Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
All God's revelations are sealed to us until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God's truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. Obey God in the thing He is at present showing you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. We read tomes on the work of the Holy Spirit when... five minutes of drastic obedience would make things clear as a sunbeam. We say, "I suppose I shall understand these things some day." You can understand them now: it is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens up and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself till you obey what you know already. Beware of being wise and prudent.
As we seek the Lord ever more diligently, we will surely find Him. We will see clearly that the Lord does not abandon His Church or His faithful Saints. Our eyes will be opened, and we will see Him open the windows of heaven and shower us with more of His light. We will find the spiritual strength to survive even during the darkest night.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
He looked resigned, as though he knew that wretched door--to where? Home? Heaven? Peace?--would never open, and at the same time he seemed resolved, ready to do his bit even though he couldn't possibly know what sacrifices that would require. Had he been kept here, too--in a place he didn't belong, serving in a war in which he hadn't enlisted, to rescue sparrows and soldiers and shopgirls and Shakespeare? To tip the balance?
Connie Willis (All Clear (All Clear, #2))
No soul ever fell away from God without giving up prayer. Prayer is that which establishes contact with Divine Power and opens the invisible resources of heaven. However dark the way, when we pray, temptation can never master us. The first step downward in the average soul is the giving up of the practice of prayer, the breaking of the circuit with divinity, and the proclamation of one’s owns self sufficiency.
Fulton J. Sheen (Characters of the Passion: Lessons on Faith and Trust)
He blinked a few times, each motion so slow that he was never quite sure if he’d get his eyes open again. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. Funny how he was only just realizing it. Funnier still that he couldn’t seem to summon any concern for her maidenly sensibilities.
She might be blushing. He couldn’t tell. It was too dark to see. But it didn’t matter. This was Honoria. She was a good egg. A sensible egg. She wouldn’t be scarred forever by the sight of his chest.
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1))
The Trial By Existence
Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide fields of asphodel fore’er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.
The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light for ever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angel hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;—
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.
And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!
And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.
And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme.
Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.
But always God speaks at the end:
’One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’
And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.
‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.
Let's offer flowers, pour a cup of libation,
split open the skies and start anew on creation.
If the forces of grief invade our lovers' veins,
cupbearer and I will wash away this temptation.
With rose water we'll mellow crimson wine's bitter cup;
we'll sugar the fire to sweeten smoke's emanation.
Take this fine lyre, musician, strike up a love song;
let's dance, sing all night, go wild in celebration.
As dust, 0 West Wind, let us rise to the Heavens,
floating free in Creator's glow of elation.
If mind desires to return while heart cries to stay,
here's a quarrel for love's deliberation.
Alas, these words and songs go for naught in this land;
come, Hafez, let's create a new generation.
New York! I say New York, let black blood flow into your blood.
Let it wash the rust from your steel joints, like an oil of life
Let it give your bridges the curve of hips and supple vines.
Now the ancient age returns, unity is restored,
The recociliation of the Lion and Bull and Tree
Idea links to action, the ear to the heart, sign to meaning.
See your rivers stirring with musk alligators
And sea cows with mirage eyes. No need to invent the Sirens.
Just open your eyes to the April rainbow
And your eyes, especially your ears, to God
Who in one burst of saxophone laughter
Created heaven and earth in six days,
And on the seventh slept a deep Negro sleep.
Léopold Sédar Senghor (The Collected Poetry)
Hold out your hands to feel the luxury of sunbeams. Press the soft blossoms against your cheek, and finger their graces of form, their delicate mutability of shape, their pliancy and freshness. Expose your face to the aerial floods that sweep the heavens, ‘inhale great draughts of space,’ wonder, wonder at the wind’s unwearied activity. Pile note on note the infinite music that flows increasingly to your soul from the tactual sonorities of a thousand branches and tumbling waters. How can the world be shriveled when this most profound, emotional sense, touch, is faithful to its service? I am sure that if a fairy bade me choose between the sense of sight and that of touch, I would not part with the warm, endearing contact of human hands…
Helen Keller (The Open Door)
They turn the water off, so I live without water,
they build walls higher, so I live without treetops,
they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine,
they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
they take each last tear I have, I live without tears,
...they take my heart and rip it open, I live without heart,
they take my life and crush it, so I live without a future,
they say I am beastly and fiendish, so I have no friends,
they stop up each hope, so I have no passage out of hell,
they give me pain, so I live with pain,
they give me hate, so I live with my hate,
they have changed me, and I am not the same man,
they give me no shower, so I live with my smell,
they separate me from my brothers, so I live without brothers,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?
who understands me when I say I have found other freedoms?
I cannot fly or make something appear in my hand,
I cannot make the heavens open or the earth tremble,
I can live with myself, and I am amazed at myself, my love, my beauty,
I am taken by my failures, astounded by my fears,
I am stubborn and childish,
in the midst of this wreckage of life they incurred,
I practice being myself,
and I have found parts of myself never dreamed of by me,
they were goaded out from under rocks in my heart
when the walls were built higher,
when the water was turned off and the windows painted black.
I followed these signs
like an old tracker and followed the tracks deep into myself
followed the blood-spotted path,
deeper into dangerous regions, and found so many parts of myself,
who taught me water is not everything,
and gave me new eyes to see through walls,
and when they spoke, sunlight came out of their mouths,
and I was laughing at me with them,
we laughed like children and made pacts to always be loyal,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?
Jimmy Santiago Baca
From the time when the exercise of the intellect became a source of strength and of wealth, we see that every addition to science, every fresh truth, and every new idea became a germ of power placed within the reach of the people. Poetry, eloquence, and memory, the graces of the mind, the fire of imagination, depth of thought, and all the gifts which Heaven scatters at a venture turned to the advantage of democracy; and even when they were in the possession of its adversaries, they still served its cause by throwing into bold relief the natural greatness of man. Its conquests spread, therefore, with those of civilization and knowledge; and literature became an arsenal open to all, where the poor and the weak daily resorted for arms.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
A wind blew, and the sand around his drawing scattered. He wrapped his fingers inside his wife's, and Father Time rekindled a connection he had only ever had with her. He surrendered to that sensation and felt the final drops of their lives touch one another, like water in a cave, top meets bottom, Heaven meets Earth.
As their eyes closed, a different set of eyes opened, and they rose from the ground as a shared south, up and up, a sun and a moon in a single sky.
Mitch Albom (The Time Keeper)
Like a tide-race, the waves of human mediocrity are rising to the heavens and will engulf this refuge, for I am opening the flood-gates myself, against my will. Ah! but my courage fails me and my heart is sick within me! -- Lord, take pity on the Christian who doubts, on the unbeliever who would fain believe, on the galley-slave of life who puts out to sea alone, in the night, beneath a firmament no longer lit by the consoling beacon-fires of the ancient hope!"
(A Rebours, final words)
Off To The Races"
My old man is a bad man but
I can't deny the way he holds my hand
And he grabs me, he has me by my heart
He doesn't mind I have a Las Vegas past
He doesn't mind I have an LA crass way about me
He loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart
Swimming pool glimmering darling
White bikini off with my red nail polish
Watch me in the swimming pool bright blue ripples you
Sitting sipping on your black Cristal
Light of my life, fire of my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire of my loins
Give me them gold coins, gimme them coins
And I'm off to the races, cases of Bacardi chasers
Chasing me all over town
Cause he knows I'm wasted, facing
Time again at Riker's Island and I won't get out
Because I'm crazy, baby I need you to come here and save me
I'm your little scarlet, starlet singing in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth
Ready for you
My old man is a tough man but
He's got a soul as sweet as blood red jam
And he shows me, he knows me
Every inch of my tar black soul
He doesn't mind I have a flat broke down life
In fact he says he thinks it's why he might like about me
Admires me, the way I roll like a Rolling Stone
Likes to watch me in the glass room bathroom, Chateau Marmont
Slippin' on my red dress, puttin' on my makeup
Glass film, perfume, cognac, lilac
Fumes, says it feels like heaven to him
Light of his life, fire of his loins
Keep me forever, tell me you own me
Light of your life, fire of your loins
Tell me you own me, gimme them coins
And I'm off to the races, cases of Bacardi chasers
Chasing me all over town
Cause he knows I'm wasted, facing
Time again at Riker's Island and I won't get out
Because I'm crazy, baby I need you to come here and save me
I'm your little scarlet, starlet singing in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth
Now I'm off to the races, laces
Leather on my waist is tight and I am fallin' down
I can see your face is shameless, Cipriani's basement
Love you but I'm going down
God I'm so crazy, baby, I'm sorry that I'm misbehaving
I'm your little harlot, starlet, Queen of Coney Island
Raising hell all over town
Sorry 'bout it
My old man is a thief and I'm gonna stay and pray with him 'til the end
But I trust in the decision of the Lord to watch over us
Take him when he may, if he may
I'm not afraid to say that I'd die without him
Who else is gonna put up with me this way?
I need you, I breathe you, I never leave you
They would rue the day I was alone without you
You're lying with your gold chain on, cigar hanging from your lips
I said "Hon' you never looked so beautiful as you do now, my man."
And we're off to the races, places
Ready, set the gate is down and now we're goin' in
To Las Vegas chaos, Casino Oasis, honey it is time to spin
Boy you're so crazy, baby, I love you forever not maybe
You are my one true love, you are my one true love
You are my one true love
Lana Del Rey
The morning of that day, as Gabriel rose and started out to work, the sky was low and nearly black and the air too thick to breath. Late in the afternoon the wind rose, the skies opened, and the rain came. The rain came down as though once more in Heaven the Lord had been persuaded of the good uses of a flood. It drove before it the bowed wanderer, clapped children into houses, licked with fearful anger against the high, strong wall, and the wall of the lean-to, and the wall of the cabin, beat against the bark and the leaves of trees, trampled the broad grass, and broke the neck of the flower. The world turned dark, forever, everywhere, and windows ran as though their glass panes bore all the tears of eternity, threatening at every instant to shatter inward against this force, uncontrollable, so abruptly visited on the earth.
James Baldwin (Go Tell It on the Mountain)
Obedient to no man, dependent only on weather and season, without a goal before them or a roof above them, owning nothing, open to every whim of fate, the homeless wanderers lead their childlike, brave, shabby existence. They are the sons of Adam, who was driven out of Paradise; the brothers of the animals, of innocence. Out of heaven's hand they accept what is given them from moment to moment: sun, rain, fog, snow, warmth, cold, comfort, and hardship; time does not exist for them and neither does history, or ambition, or that bizarre idol called progress and evolution, in which houseowners believe so desperately. A wayfarer may be delicate or crude, artful or awkward, brave or cowardly—he is always a child at heart, living in the first day of creation, before the beginning of the history of the world, his life always guided by a few simple instincts and needs. He may be intelligent or stupid; he may be deeply aware of the fleeting fragility of all living things, of how pettily and fearfully each living creature carries its bit of warm blood through the glaciers of cosmic space, or he may merely follow the commands of his poor stomach with childlike greed—he is always the opponent, the deadly enemy of the established proprietor, who hates him, despises him, or fears him, because he does not wish to be reminded that all existence is transitory, that life is constantly wilting, that merciless icy death fills the cosmos all around.
Hermann Hesse (Narcissus and Goldmund)
Eccolo!” he exclaimed.
At the same moment the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end.
“Courage!” cried her companion, now standing some six feet above. “Courage and love.”
She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.
Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone.
George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her…
E.M. Forster (A Room with a View)
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Joseph Smith Jr. (The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Containing the Revelations Given to Joseph Smith ... with Some Additions by His Successors in the Presidency of the Church)
Nationality is a good thing to a certain extent, but universality is better. All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal. Their roots are in their native soil; but their branches wave in the unpatriotic air, that speaks the same language unto all men, and their leaves shine with the illimitable light that pervades all lands. Let us throw all the windows open; let us admit the light and air on all sides; that we may look towards the four corners of the heavens, and not always in the same direction.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Kavanagh by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Fiction, Classics)
I once met a traveler who told me he would live to see the end of time. He laid out all his vitamins before me and told me he slept seven hours every night, no more or less. All the life you want, he said. It's all within the palm of your hand now. He said he would outlast all the wars and all the diseases, long enough to remember everything, and long enough to forget everything. He'd be the last man still standing when the sun decides to collapse upon itself and history ends. He said he had found the safest place on earth, where he could stay until the gateway to the beyond opened before him. A thousand generations from today. I pictured him there, atop a remote and snowy mountain. The heavens opening and God congratulating him for his perseverance. Asking him to join Him and watch as the sun burns down to a dull orange cinder and everything around it breaks is orbit and goes tumbling tumbling away, everything that once seemed permanent pulled apart so effortlessly, like a ball of yarn. A life into divinity.
But I knew it was a lie. I've always known it was a lie. You can not hide from the world. It will find you. It always does. And now it has found me. My split second of immortality is over. All that's left now is the end, which is all any of us ever has.
Drew Magary (The Postmortal)
I was fading helplessly away with open eyes, staring straight at the ceiling. Finally I stuck my forefinger in my mouth and took to sucking on it. Something began stirring in my brain, some thought in there scrabbling to get out, a stark-staring mad idea: What if I get a bite? And without a moment’s hesitation I squeezed my eyes shut and clenched my teeth together.
I jumped up. I was finally awake. A little blood trickled from my finger, and I licked it off as it came. It didn’t hurt, the wound was nothing really, but I was at once brought back to my sense. I shook my head, went over to the window and found a rag for the wound. While I was fiddling with this, my eyes filled with water --- I wept softly to myself. The skinny lacerated finger looked so sad. God in heaven, to what extremity I had come!
Knut Hamsun (Hunger)
Houses, gardens, and people were transfigured into musical sounds, all that was solid seemed to be transfigured into soul and into gentleness. Sweet veils of silver and soul-haze swam through all things and lay over all things. The soul of the world had opened, and all grief, all human disappointment, all evil, all pain seemed to vanish, from now on never to appear again. Earlier walks came before my eyes; but the wonderful image of the humble present became a feeling which overpowered all others. The future paled, and the past dissolved. I glowed and flowered myself in the glowing, flowering present. From near and far, great things and small things emerged bright silver with marvelous gestures, joys, and enrichments, and in the midst of this beautiful place I dreamed of nothing but this place itself. All other fantasies sank and vanished in meaninglessness. I had the whole rich earth immediately before me, and I still looked only at what was most small and most humble. With gestures of love the heavens rose and fell. I had become an inward being, and walked as in an inward world; everything outside me became a dream; what I had understood till now became unintelligible. I fell away from the surface, down into the fabulous depths, which I recognized then to be all that was good. What we understand and love understands and loves us also. I was no longer myself, was another, and yet it was on this account that I became properly myself. In the sweet light of love I realized, or believe I realized, that perhaps the inward self is the only self which really exists.
Robert Walser (Selected Stories)
I was very timid, and bound as with chains in a man-fearing spirit. When I arose to testify I trembled like a leaf, and began to make excuses - O God, send someone else!
Then the Lord in a vision caused me to see the bottomless pit open in all its horror and woe. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was surrounded by a great multitude of people who seemed unconscious of their danger, and without a moments warning they would tumble into this awful place.
I was above the people on a narrow plank-walk, which wound up toward heaven; and I was exhorting and pleading with the people to come upon the plank and escape that awful place. Several started.
There was a beautiful bright light above me, and I was encouraging them to follow that light and they would go straight to heaven.
"In all these trials God was preparing me and opening the way for the great battle against the enemy of souls and now the great desire of my heart was to work for Jesus. I longed to win a star for the Savior's crown.
Places I love come back to me like music,
Hush me and heal me when I am very tired;
I see the oak woods at Saxton's flaming
In a flare of crimson by the frost newly fired;
And I am thirsty for the spring in the valley
As for a kiss ungiven and long desired.
I know a bright world of snowy hills at Boonton,
A blue and white dazzling light on everything one sees,
The ice-covered branches of the hemlocks sparkle
Bending low and tinkling in the sharp thin breeze,
And iridescent crystals fall and crackle on the snow-crust
With the winer sun drawing cold blue shadows from the trees.
Violet now, in veil on veil of evening,
The hills across from Cromwell grow dreamy and far;
A wood-thrush is singing soft as a viol
In the heart of the hollow where the dark pools are;
The primrose has opened her pale yellow flowers
And heaven is lighting star after star.
Places I love come back to me like music–
Mid-ocean, midnight, the eaves buzz drowsily;
In the ship's deep churning the eerie phosphorescence
Is like the souls of people who were drowned at sea,
And I can hear a man's voice, speaking, hushed , insistent,
At midnight, in mid-ocean, hour on hour to me.
Sara Teasdale (The Collected Poems)
Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.
Prayers are prophecies. They are the best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life.
The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.
God does not answer vague prayers. The more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.
Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit praying. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens.
If you don’t take the risk, you forfeit the miracle.
Take a step of faith when God gives you a vision because you trust that the One who gave you the vision is going to make provision. And for the record, if the vision is from God, it will most definitely be beyond your means.
We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we should seek God. If you seek answers you won’t find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you.
If your plans aren’t birthed in prayer and bathed in prayer, they won’t succeed.
Are your problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than your problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it’s a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems.
Because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence.
Persistence is the magic bullet. The only way you can fail is if you stop praying. 100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered.
Where are you most proficient, most sufficient? Maybe that is precisely where God wants you to trust Him to do something beyond your ability.
What we perceive as unanswered prayers are often the greatest answers. Our heavenly Father is far too wise and loves us far too much to give us everything we ask for. Someday we’ll thank God for the prayers He didn’t answer as much or more than the ones He did.
You can’t pray for open doors if you aren’t willing accept closed doors, because one leads to the other.
Just as our greatest successes often come on the heels of our greatest failures, our greatest answers often come on the heels of our longest and most boring prayers.
The biggest difference between success and failure, both spiritually and occupationally, is your waking-up time on your alarm clock. We won’t remember the things that came easy; we’ll remember the things that came hard.
It’s not just where you end up that’s important; it’s how you get there. Goal setting begins and ends with prayer.
The more you have to circle something in prayer, the more satisfying it is spiritually. And, often, the more glory God gets.
I don’t want easy answers or quick answers because I have a tendency to mishandle the blessings that come too easily or too quickly. I take the credit or take them for granted. So now I pray that it will take long enough and be hard enough for God to receive all of the glory. Change your prayer approach from as soon as possible to as long as it takes.
Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.
Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears)
They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body - it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend - glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars.
I wanted to tell Ren the truth. I wanted to say that he was the best friend I’d ever had. That I was sorry about the way I had treated him. I wanted to tell him…that I loved him. But I couldn’t say anything. My throat was closed up, probably swollen from snake venom. All I could do was look at him as he knelt over me.
That’s okay. Looking at his gorgeous face one last time is enough for me. I’ll die a happy woman.
I was so tired. My eyelids were too heavy to keep open. I closed my eyes and waited for death to come. Ren cleared a space and sat down near me. Pillowing my head on his arm, he pulled me onto his lap and into his arms. I smiled.
Even better. I can’t open my eyes to see him anymore, but I can feel his arms around me. My warrior angel can carry me in his arms up to heaven.
He squeezed my closer to his body and whispered something in my ear that I couldn’t make out. Then darkness overtook me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Gold winked at his wrist as he pressed his choice for two coffees on the AutoChef built into the side panel. "Cream?"
"A woman after my own heart." Moments later, he opened the protective door and offered her a china cup in a delicate saucer. "We have more of a selection on the plane," he said, then settled back with his coffee.
"I bet." The steam rising from her cup smelled like heaven. Eve took a tentative sip -- and nearly moaned.
It was real. No simulation made from vegetable concentrate so usual since the depletion of the rain forests in the late twentieth. This was the real thing, ground from rich Columbian beans, singing with caffeine.
She sipped again, and could have wept.
"Problem?" He enjoyed her reaction immensely, the flutter of the lashes, the faint flush, the darkening of the eyes -- a similar response, he noted, to a woman purring under a man's hands.
"Do you know how long it's been since I had real coffee?"
He smiled. "No."
"Neither do I." Unashamed, she closed her eyes as she lifted the cup again. "You'll have to excuse me, this is a private moment. We'll talk on the plane.
J.D. Robb (Naked in Death (In Death #1))
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us.
I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it.
I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us.
I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it.
And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity.
For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are.
That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us.
If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness.
If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything.
But the world is simply to beautiful for that.
At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
I watched him as he lined up the ships in bottles on his deck, bringing them over from the shelves where they usually sat. He used an old shirt of my mother's that had been ripped into rags and began dusting the shelves. Under his desk there were empty bottles- rows and rows of them we had collected for our future shipbuilding. In the closet were more ships- the ships he had built with his own father, ships he had built alone, and then those we had made together. Some were perfect, but their sails browned; some had sagged or toppled over the years. Then there was the one that had burst into flames in the week before my death.
He smashed that one first.
My heart seized up. He turned and saw all the others, all the years they marked and the hands that had held them. His dead father's, his dead child's. I watched his as he smashed the rest. He christened the walls and wooden chair with the news of my death, and afterward he stood in the guest room/den surrounded by green glass. The bottle, all of them, lay broken on the floor, the sails and boat bodies strewn among them. He stood in the wreckage. It was then that, without knowing how, I revealed myself. In every piece of glass, in every shard and sliver, I cast my face. My father glanced down and around him, his eyes roving across the room. Wild. It was just for a second, and then I was gone. He was quiet for a moment, and then he laughed- a howl coming up from the bottom of his stomach. He laughed so loud and deep, I shook with it in my heaven.
He left the room and went down two doors to my beadroom. The hallway was tiny, my door like all the others, hollow enough to easily punch a fist through. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands.
'Daddy?' Buckley said. My brother held the doorknob with his hand.
My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He slid to the floor with his fists, and then he opened up his arms. He had to ask my brother twice, which he had never to do do before, but Buckley came to him.
My father wrapped my brother inside the sheets that smelled of me. He remembered the day I'd begged him to paint and paper my room purple. Remembered moving in the old National Geographics to the bottom shelves of my bookcases. (I had wanted to steep myself in wildlife photography.) Remembered when there was just one child in the house for the briefest of time until Lindsey arrived.
'You are so special to me, little man,' my father said, clinging to him.
Buckley drew back and stared at my father's creased face, the fine bright spots of tears at the corners of his eyes. He nodded seriously and kissed my father's cheek. Something so divine that no one up in heaven could have made it up; the care a child took with an adult.
'Hold still,' my father would say, while I held the ship in the bottle and he burned away the strings he'd raised the mast with and set the clipper ship free on its blue putty sea. And I would wait for him, recognizing the tension of that moment when the world in the bottle depended, solely, on me.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole - this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel - this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill - this refers to a difference in nature. Now do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously it is impossible.
Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
[Author's Note:] When I was sixteen, two of my cousins were brutally raped by four strangers and thrown off a bridge in St. Louis, Missouri. My brother was beaten and also forced off the bridge. I wrote about that horrible crime in my first book, my memoir, A Rip in Heaven. Because that crime and the subsequent writing of the book were both formative experience in my life, I became a person who is always, automatically, more interested in stories about victims than perpetrators. I'm interested in characters who suffer inconceivable hardship, in people who manage to triumph over extraordinary trauma. Characters like Lydia and Soledad. I'm less interested in the violent, macho stories of gangsters and law enforcement. Or in any case, I think the world has enough stories like those. Some fiction set in the world of the cartels and narcotraficantes is compelling and important - I read much of it during my early research. Those novels provide readers with an understanding of the origins of the some of the violence to our south. But the depiction of that violence can feed into some of the worst stereotypes about Mexico. So I saw an opening for a novel that would press a little more intimately into those stories, to imagine people on the flip side of that prevailing narrative. Regular people like me. How would I manage if I lived in a place that began to collapse around me? If my children were in danger, how far would I go to save them? I wanted to write about women, whose stories are often overlooked.
Jeanine Cummins (American Dirt)
Perhaps we are not following Christ all the way or in the right spirit. We are likely, for example, to be a little sparing of the palms and hosannas. We are chary of wielding the scourge of small cords, lest we should offend somebody or interfere with trade. We do not furnish up our wits to disentangle knotty questions about Sunday observance and tribute money, nor hasten to sit at the feet of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. We pass hastily over disquieting jests about making friends with the mammon of unrighteousness and alarming observations about bringing not peace but a sword; nor do we distinguish ourselves by the graciousness by which we sit at meat with publicans and sinners. Somehow or other, and with the best intentions, we have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and rather ill-natured bore---and this in the name of the one who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty-three years during which he passed through the world like a flame. Let us, in heaven's name, drag out the divine drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much worse for the pious---others will pass into the kingdom of heaven before them. If all men are offended because of Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended at something that is not Christ and is nothing like him? We do him singularly little honor by watering down his personality till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine)
As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed.
The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts. The president does this at a high rate and at a fast pace. One attempt during the 2016 campaign to track his utterances found that 78 percent of his factual claims were false. This proportion is so high that it makes the correct assertions seem like unintended oversights on the path toward total fiction. Demeaning the world as it is begins the creation of a fictional counterworld.
The second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable. The systematic use of nicknames such as “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary” displaced certain character traits that might more appropriately have been affixed to the president himself. Yet through blunt repetition over Twitter, our president managed the transformation of individuals into stereotypes that people then spoke aloud. At rallies, the repeated chants of “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” did not describe anything that the president had specific plans to do, but their very grandiosity established a connection between him and his audience.
The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction. The president’s campaign involved the promises of cutting taxes for everyone, eliminating the national debt, and increasing spending on both social policy and national defense. These promises mutually contradict. It is as if a farmer said he were taking an egg from the henhouse, boiling it whole and serving it to his wife, and also poaching it and serving it to his children, and then returning it to the hen unbroken, and then watching as the chick hatches.
Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason. Klemperer’s descriptions of losing friends in Germany in 1933 over the issue of magical thinking ring eerily true today. One of his former students implored him to “abandon yourself to your feelings, and you must always focus on the Führer’s greatness, rather than on the discomfort you are feeling at present.” Twelve years later, after all the atrocities, and at the end of a war that Germany had clearly lost, an amputated soldier told Klemperer that Hitler “has never lied yet. I believe in Hitler.”
The final mode is misplaced faith. It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.” When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience. What terrified Klemperer was the way that this transition seemed permanent. Once truth had become oracular rather than factual, evidence was irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. I believe in the Führer.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
He woke one morning tantalized by an idea: if he could catch the orchard trees motionless for one second -- for half of one second -- then none of it would have happened. The kitchen door would bang open and in his father would walk, red-faced and slapping his hands and exclaiming about some newly whelped pup. Childish, Edgar knew, but he didn't care. The trick was to not focus on any single part of any tree, but to look through them all toward a point in the air. But how insidious a bargain he'd made. Even in the quietest moment some small thing quivered and the tableau was destroyed.
How many afternoons slipped away like that? How many midnights standing in the spare room, watching the trees shiver in the moonlight? Still he watched, transfixed. Then, blushing because it was futile and silly, he forced himself to walk away.
When he blinked, an afterimage of perfect stillness.
To think it might happen when he wasn't watching.
He turned back before he reached the door. Through the window glass, a dozen trees strummed by the winter wind, skeletons dancing pair-wise, fingers raised to heaven.
Stop it, he told himself. Just stop.
And watched some more.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
People had always amazed him, he began. But they amazed him more since the sickness. For as long as the two of them had been together, he said, Gary’s mother had accepted him as her son’s lover, had given them her blessing. Then, at the funeral, she’d barely acknowledged him. Later, when she drove to the house to retrieve some personal things, she’d hunted through her son’s drawers with plastic bags twist-tied around her wrists.
“…And yet,” he whispered, “The janitor at school--remember him? Mr. Feeney? --he’d openly disapproved of me for nineteen years. One of the nastiest people I knew. Then when the news about me got out, after I resigned, he started showing up at the front door every Sunday with a coffee milkshake. In his church clothes, with his wife waiting out in the car. People have sent me hate mail, condoms, Xeroxed prayers…”
What made him most anxious, he told me, was not the big questions--the mercilessness of fate, the possibility of heaven. He was too exhausted, he said, to wrestle with those. But he’d become impatient with the way people wasted their lives, squandered their chances like paychecks.
I sat on the bed, massaging his temples, pretending that just the right rubbing might draw out the disease. In the mirror I watched us both--Mr. Pucci, frail and wasted, a talking dead man. And myself with the surgical mask over my mouth, to protect him from me.
“The irony,” he said, “… is that now that I’m this blind man, it’s clearer to me than it’s ever been before. What’s the line? ‘Was blind but now I see…’” He stopped and put his lips to the plastic straw. Juice went halfway up the shaft, then back down again. He motioned the drink away. “You accused me of being a saint a while back, pal, but you were wrong. Gary and I were no different. We fought…said terrible things to each other. Spent one whole weekend not speaking to each other because of a messed up phone message… That time we separated was my idea. I thought, well, I’m fifty years old and there might be someone else out there. People waste their happiness--That’s what makes me sad. Everyone’s so scared to be happy.”
“I know what you mean,” I said.
His eyes opened wider. For a second he seemed to see me. “No you don’t,” he said. “You mustn’t. He keeps wanting to give you his love, a gift out and out, and you dismiss it. Shrug it off because you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid. It’s more like…” I watched myself in the mirror above the sink. The mask was suddenly a gag. I listened.
“I’ll give you what I learned from all this,” he said. “Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
Of the Three Rings that the Elves had preserved unsullied no open word was ever spoken among the Wise, and few even of the Eldar knew where they were bestowed. Yet after the fall of Sauron their power was ever at work, and where they abode there mirth also dwelt and all things were unstained by the griefs of time. Therefore ere the Third Age was ended the Elves perceived that the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most brightly shone; whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth. But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Cirdan knew to whom it had been committed.
Thus it was that in two domains the bliss and beauty of the Elves remained still undiminished while that Age endured: in Imladris; and in Lothlórien, the hidden land between Celebrant and Anduin, where the trees bore flowers of gold and no Orc or evil thing dared ever come. Yet many voices were heard among the Elves foreboding that, if Sauron should come again, then either he would find the Ruling Ring that was lost, or at the best his enemies would discover it and destroy it; but in either chance the powers of the Three must then fail and all things maintained by them must fade, and so the Elves should pass into the twilight and the Dominion of Men begin. And so indeed it has since befallen: the One and the Seven and the Nine are destroyed; and the Three have passed away, and with them the Third Age is ended, and the Tales of the Eldar in Middle-earth draw to then-close.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
Inside the church, the bondsmaids were walking slowly down the aisle,
with the little petal girls. Trinity turned to give Mimi her last words of
motherly advice: 'Walk straight. Don't slouch. And for heavens's sake,
smile! It's your bonding!?' Then she too walked through the door and
down the aisle. The door shut behind her, leaving Mimi alone.
Finally, Mimi heard the orchestra play the first strains of the 'Wedding
March.' Wagner. Then the ushers opened the doors and Mimi moved to the threshold. There was an appreciative gasp from the crowd as they took in the sight of Mimi in her fantastic dress. But instead of acknowledging her triumph as New York?s most beautiful bride, Mimi looked straight ahead, at Jack, who was standing so tall and straight at the altar. He met her eyes and did not smile.
'Let's just get this over with.'
His words were like an ice pick to the heart. He doesn't love me. He has
never loved me. Not the way he loves Schuyler. Not the way he loved Allegra. He has come to every bonding with this darkness. With this regret and hesitation, doubt and despair. She couldn't deny it. She knew her twin, and she knew what he was feeling, and it wasn't joy or even relief.
What am I doing?
"Ready" Forsyth Llewellyn suddenly appeared by her side. Oh, right, she
remembered, she had said yes when Forsyth had offered to walk her
down the aisle.
Here goes nothing. As if in a daze, Mimi took his arm, Jack's words still
echoing in her head. She walked, zombie-like, down the aisle, not even
noticing the flashing cameras or the murmurs of approval from the
Melissa de la Cruz (The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, #4))
Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."
Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills. (last lines)
Kate Chopin (The Story of an Hour)
They do the twenty-one-gun salute for the good guys, right? So I brought this.” Beckett pointed the gun in the sky. “For Mouse.”
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen shots exploded from Beckett’s gun.
“Who am I fucking kidding? What the hell does a gun shot by me mean? Nothing special, that’s for damn sure. Fuck it.”
“For Mouse, who watched over my sister and saved Blake and me from more than we could’ve handled in the woods that night.” Livia nodded at Beckett, and he squeezed the trigger. When the sound had cleared, she counted out loud. “Seventeen.”
Kyle stepped forward and replaced Livia at Beckett’s arm. “For Mouse. I didn’t know you well, but I wish I had.” The air snapped with the shot. “Eighteen.”
Cole rubbed Kyle’s shoulder as he approached. He took the gun from Beckett’s hand. “For Mouse, who protected Beckett from himself for years.” The gun popped again. “Nineteen.”
Blake thought for a moment with the gun pointed at the ground, then aimed it at the sky. “For Mouse, who saved Livia’s life when I couldn’t. Thank you is not enough.” The gun took his gratitude to the heavens. “Twenty.”
Eve took the gun from Blake, the hand that had been shaking steadied. “Mouse, I wish you were still here. This place was better when you were part of it.” The last shot was the most jarring, juxtaposed with the perfect silence of its wake.
As if the bullet was a key in a lock, the gray skies opened and a quiet, lovely snow shower filtered down. The flakes decorated the hair of the six mourners like glistening knit caps.
Eve turned her face to be bathed in the fresh flakes. “Twenty-one,” she said softly, replacing her earpiece.
Debra Anastasia (Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1))
Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
Gentlemen of the jury: A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.
George Graham Vest (A Tribute to the Best Friend of Man: Eulogy on the Dog)
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
HOW CAN A GOOD GOD SEND PEOPLE TO HELL? This question assumes that God sends people to hell against their will. But this is not the case. God desires everyone to be saved (see 2 Peter 3:9). Those who are not saved do not will to be saved. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). As C. S. Lewis put it, “The door of hell is locked on the inside.” All who go there choose to do so. Lewis added: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell, choose it.” Lewis believed “without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”5 Furthermore, heaven would be hell for those who are not fitted for it. For heaven is a place of constant praise and worship of God (Revelation 4–5). But for unbelievers who do not enjoy one hour of worship a week on earth, it would be hell to force them to do this forever in heaven! Hear Lewis again: “I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved.’ But my reason retorts, ‘Without their will, or with it?’ If I say ‘Without their will,’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies ‘How if they will not give in?’”6 God is just and he must punish sin (Habakkuk 1:13; Revelation 20:11–15). But he is also love (1 John 4:16), and his love cannot force others to love him. Love cannot work coercively but only persuasively. Forced love is a contradiction in terms. Hence, God’s love demands that there be a hell where persons who do not wish to love him can experience the great divorce when God says to them, “Thy will be done!
Ravi Zacharias (Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith)
She thumped her weapon (others might call it a cane, but he
knew better) against the floor. “Fell off your horse?”
“Tripped down the stairs? Dropped a bottle on your foot?” Her
expression grew sly. “Or does it involve a woman?”
He fought the urge to cross his arms. She was looking up at him
with a bit of a smirk. She liked poking fun at her companions; she’d
once told him that the best part of growing old was that she could
say anything she wanted with impunity.
He leaned down and said with great gravity, “Actually, I was
stabbed by my valet.”
It was, perhaps, the only time in his life he’d managed to stun
her into silence.
Her mouth fell open, her eyes grew wide, and he would have
liked to have thought that she even went pale, but her skin had such
an odd tone to begin with that it was hard to say. Then, after a
moment of shock, she let out a bark of laughter and said, “No,
really. What happened?”
“Exactly as I said. I was stabbed.” He waited a moment, then
added, “If we weren’t in the middle of a ballroom, I’d show you.”
“You don’t say?” Now she was really interested. She leaned in,
eyes alight with macabre curiosity. “Is it gruesome?”
“It was,” he confirmed.
She pressed her lips together, and her eyes narrowed as she
asked, “And where is your valet now?”
“At Chatteris House, likely nicking a glass of my best brandy.”
She let out another one of her staccato barks of laughter.
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1))
EPILOGUE This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you. You are not alone. No one who calls on Him can call in vain. Whatever troubles you, be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him. He will not withhold all answers that you need for anything that seems to trouble you. He knows the way to solve all problems, and resolve all doubts. His certainty is yours. You need but ask it of Him, and it will be given you. You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed, your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the course of those whom God has called to Him. Therefore obey your will, and follow Him Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak of what you really want and really need. His is the Voice for God and also yours. And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth. No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word. His is the Word that God has given you. His is the Word you chose to be your own. And now I place you in His hands, to be His faithful follower, with Him as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real. Nor will He give you pleasures that will pass away, for He gives only the eternal and the good. Let Him prepare you further. He has earned your trust by speaking daily to you of your Father and your brother and your Self. He will continue. Now you walk with Him, as certain as is He of where you go; as sure as He of how you should proceed; as confident as He is of the goal, and of your safe arrival in the end. The end is certain, and the means as well. To this we say “Amen.” You will be told exactly what God wills for you each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not, and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach. And so we walk with Him from this time on, and turn to Him for guidance and for peace and sure direction. Joy attends our way. For we go homeward to an open door which God has held unclosed to welcome us. We trust our ways to Him and say “Amen.” In peace we will continue in His way, and trust all things to Him. In confidence we wait His answers, as we ask His Will in everything we do. He loves God’s Son as we would love him. And He teaches us how to behold him through His eyes, and love him as He does. You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless.
Foundation for Inner Peace (A Course in Miracles)
Notice also that there is a tie between Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Bible. Genesis presents the beginning, and Revelation presents the end. Note the contrasts between the two books: In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation the earth passes away. In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation is Satan’s last rebellion. In Genesis the sun, moon, and stars were for earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for earth’s judgment. In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no need of the sun. In Genesis darkness was called night; in Revelation there is “no night there” (see Rev. 21:25; 22:5). In Genesis the waters were called seas; in Revelation there is no more sea. In Genesis was the entrance of sin; in Revelation is the exodus of sin. In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed. In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death. In Genesis was the beginning of sorrow and suffering; in Revelation there will be no more sorrow and no more tears. In Genesis was the marriage of the first Adam; in Revelation is the marriage of the Last Adam. In Genesis we saw man’s city, Babylon, being built; in Revelation we see man’s city, Babylon, destroyed and God’s city, the New Jerusalem, brought into view. In Genesis Satan’s doom was pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed. It is interesting that Genesis opens the Bible not only with a global view but also with a universal view—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). And the Bible closes with another global and universal book. The Revelation shows what God is going to do with His universe and with His creatures. There is no other book quite like this.
J. Vernon McGee (Revelation 1-5)
What made him most anxious, he told me, was not the big questions -the mercilessness of fate, the possibility of heaven. He was too exhausted, he said, to wrestle with those. But he'd become impatient with the way people wasted their lives, squandered their chances like paychecks.
I sat on the bed, massaging his temples, pretending that just the right rubbing might draw out the disease. In the mirror I watched us both -Mr. Pucci, frail and wasted, a talking dead man. And myself with a surgical mask over my mouth, to protect him from me.
"The irony," he said, "... is that now that I'm this blind man, it's clearer to me now then it's ever been before. What's the line? 'Was blind but now I see...' " He stopped and put his lips to the plastic straw. Juice went halfway up the shaft, then back down again. He motioned the drink away.
"You accused me of being a saint a while back, pal, but you were wrong. Gary and I were no different. We fought ...said terrible things to each other. Spent one whole weekend not speaking to each other because of a messed-up phone message...
That time we separated was my idea. I thought, well, I'm fifty years old and there might be someone else out there. People waste their happiness -that's what makes me sad. Everyone's so scared to be happy."
"I know what you mean," I said.
His eyes opened wider. For a second he seemed to see me.
"No you don't," he said. "You mustn’t. He keeps wanting to give you his love, a gift out and out and you dismiss it. Shrug it off because you're afraid."
"I'm not afraid. It's more like ..." I watched myself in the mirror above the sink. The mask was suddenly a gag. I listened.
"l'll give you what I learned from all this," he said. "Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN we pray? Have you ever really thought about that? When you bow your knee and fold your hands or walk the floor with your eyes closed, opening your heart to heaven, what exactly happens? There are very few references in the Bible about the proper procedures for how to pray, and I believe that is because prayer is more about the heart’s attitude and focus than it is about whether we stand, sit, close our eyes, or any other practice we normally associate with prayer. The truth be told, if we are supposed to pray without ceasing, we should also be able to work on an engine, write an e-mail, give a presentation, change a diaper, write a report, have coffee with a friend, encourage a coworker, pay our bills, and any of the other myriad of things we do in a day while still keeping the communication lines open with heaven. I believe that every day we need focused times of prayer, but at all other times we should be in an attitude of prayer with our spiritual ears open to the thoughts of heaven. There should be seasons of intense, concentrated prayer and fasting with specified hours set aside for intercession, and there should be times when prayer is simply a regular part of our daily routine. A great interest has arisen in the last decade around 24-7 prayer rooms where different church members pray in hour-long blocks so that unbroken intercession is raised up for their city and our world. Other churches dedicate evenings solely to prayer and worship and gather believers to lift their voices in song and petition to the Lord. While all of these are wonderful things to do, at its essence prayer is simply conversation with God. Because we have changed passports from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of heaven, we are members of God’s family and therefore have the right to talk with our Father anytime we want because He is not limited by time and space. Yet while it isn’t difficult to speak to Him, even as a babe in faith, it does take some maturity to discern His voice from the voice of our own thoughts, dreams, and desires. This is why, when I speak about prayer, I get more questions about hearing the voice of God than anything else.
Cindy Trimm (The Prayer Warrior's Way: Strategies from Heaven for Intimate Communication with God)
THE ORGANIC FOODS MYTH
A few decades ago, a woman tried to sue a butter company that had printed the word 'LITE' on its product's packaging. She claimed to have gained so much weight from eating the butter, even though it was labeled as being 'LITE'. In court, the lawyer representing the butter company simply held up the container of butter and said to the judge, "My client did not lie. The container is indeed 'light in weight'. The woman lost the case.
In a marketing class in college, we were assigned this case study to show us that 'puffery' is legal. This means that you can deceptively use words with double meanings to sell a product, even though they could mislead customers into thinking your words mean something different. I am using this example to touch upon the myth of organic foods. If I was a lawyer representing a company that had labeled its oranges as being organic, and a man was suing my client because he found out that the oranges were being sprayed with toxins, my defense opening statement would be very simple: "If it's not plastic or metallic, it's organic."
Most products labeled as being organic are not really organic. This is the truth. You pay premium prices for products you think are grown without chemicals, but most products are. If an apple is labeled as being organic, it could mean two things. Either the apple tree itself is free from chemicals, or just the soil. One or the other, but rarely both. The truth is, the word 'organic' can mean many things, and taking a farmer to court would be difficult if you found out his fruits were indeed sprayed with pesticides. After all, all organisms on earth are scientifically labeled as being organic, unless they are made of plastic or metal. The word 'organic' comes from the word 'organism', meaning something that is, or once was, living and breathing air, water and sunlight.
So, the next time you stroll through your local supermarket and see brown pears that are labeled as being organic, know that they could have been third-rate fare sourced from the last day of a weekend market, and have been re-labeled to be sold to a gullible crowd for a premium price. I have a friend who thinks that organic foods have to look beat up and deformed because the use of chemicals is what makes them look perfect and flawless. This is not true. Chemical-free foods can look perfect if grown in your backyard. If you go to jungles or forests untouched by man, you will see fruit and vegetables that look like they sprouted from trees from Heaven. So be cautious the next time you buy anything labeled as 'organic'. Unless you personally know the farmer or the company selling the products, don't trust what you read. You, me, and everything on land and sea are organic.
Truth Is Crying
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice—
Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)
Howard had a pine display case, fastened by fake leather straps and stained to look like walnut. Inside, on fake velvet, were cheap gold-plated earrings and pendants of semiprecious stones. He opened this case for haggard country wives when their husbands were off chopping trees or reaping the back acres. He showed them the same half-dozen pieces every year the last time he came around, when he thought, This is the season - preserving done, woodpile high, north wind up and getting cold, night showing up earlier every day, dark and ice pressing down from the north, down on the raw wood of their cabins, on the rough-cut rafters that sag and sometimes snap from the weight of the dark and the ice, burying families in their sleep, the dark and the ice and sometimes the red in the sky through trees: the heartbreak of a cold sun. He thought, Buy the pendant, sneak it into your hand from the folds of your dress and let the low light of the fire lap at it late at night as you wait for the roof to give out or your will to snap and the ice to be too thick to chop through with the ax as you stand in your husband's boots on the frozen lake at midnight, the dry hack of the blade on ice so tiny under the wheeling and frozen stars, the soundproof lid of heaven, that your husband would never stir from his sleep in the cabin across the ice, would never hear and come running, half-frozen, in only his union suit, to save you from chopping a hole in the ice and sliding into it as if it were a blue vein, sliding down into the black, silty bottom of the lake, where you would see nothing, would perhaps feel only the stir of some somnolent fish in the murk as the plunge of you in your wool dress and the big boots disturbed it from its sluggish winter dreams of ancient seas. Maybe you would not even feel that, as you struggled in clothes that felt like cooling tar, and as you slowed, calmed, even, and opened your eyes and looked for a pulse of silver, an imbrication of scales, and as you closed your eyes again and felt their lids turn to slippery, ichthyic skin, the blood behind them suddenly cold, and as you found yourself not caring, wanting, finally, to rest, finally wanting nothing more than the sudden, new, simple hum threading between your eyes. The ice is far too thick to chop through. You will never do it. You could never do it. So buy the gold, warm it with your skin, slip it onto your lap when you are sitting by the fire and all you will otherwise have to look at is your splintery husband gumming chew or the craquelure of your own chapped hands.
Paul Harding (Tinkers)
My delightful, my love, my life, I don’t understand anything: how can you not be with me? I’m so infinitely used to you that I now feel myself lost and empty: without you, my soul. You turn my life into something light, amazing, rainbowed—you put a glint of happiness on everything—always different: sometimes you can be smoky-pink, downy, sometimes dark, winged—and I don’t know when I love your eyes more—when they are open or shut. It’s eleven p.m. now: I’m trying with all the force of my soul to see you through space; my thoughts plead for a heavenly visa to Berlin via air . . . My sweet excitement . . .
Today I can’t write about anything except my longing for you. I’m gloomy and fearful: silly thoughts are swarming—that you’ll stumble as you jump out of a carriage in the underground, or that someone will bump into you in the street . . . I don’t know how I’ll survive the week.
My tenderness, my happiness, what words can I write for you? How strange that although my life’s work is moving a pen over paper, I don’t know how to tell you how I love, how I desire you. Such agitation—and such divine peace: melting clouds immersed in sunshine—mounds of happiness. And I am floating with you, in you, aflame and melting—and a whole life with you is like the movement of clouds, their airy, quiet falls, their lightness and smoothness, and the heavenly variety of outline and tint—my inexplicable love. I cannot express these cirrus-cumulus sensations.
When you and I were at the cemetery last time, I felt it so piercingly and clearly: you know it all, you know what will happen after death—you know it absolutely simply and calmly—as a bird knows that, fluttering from a branch, it will fly and not fall down . . . And that’s why I am so happy with you, my lovely, my little one. And here’s more: you and I are so special; the miracles we know, no one knows, and no one loves the way we love.
What are you doing now? For some reason I think you’re in the study: you’ve got up, walked to the door, you are pulling the door wings together and pausing for a moment—waiting to see if they’ll move apart again. I’m tired, I’m terribly tired, good night, my joy. Tomorrow I’ll write you about all kinds of everyday things. My love.
Vladimir Nabokov (Letters to Vera)
Sometimes I think Earth has got to be the insane asylum of the universe. . . and I'm here by computer error. At sixty-eight, I hope I've gained some wisdom in the past fourteen lustrums and it’s obligatory to speak plain and true about the conclusions I've come to; now that I have been educated to believe by such mentors as Wells, Stapledon, Heinlein, van Vogt, Clarke, Pohl, (S. Fowler) Wright, Orwell, Taine, Temple, Gernsback, Campbell and other seminal influences in scientifiction, I regret the lack of any female writers but only Radclyffe Hall opened my eyes outside sci-fi.
I was a secular humanist before I knew the term. I have not believed in God since childhood's end. I believe a belief in any deity is adolescent, shameful and dangerous. How would you feel, surrounded by billions of human beings taking Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy and the stork seriously, and capable of shaming, maiming or murdering in their name? I am embarrassed to live in a world retaining any faith in church, prayer or a celestial creator. I do not believe in Heaven, Hell or a Hereafter; in angels, demons, ghosts, goblins, the Devil, vampires, ghouls, zombies, witches, warlocks, UFOs or other delusions; and in very few mundane individuals--politicians, lawyers, judges, priests, militarists, censors and just plain people. I respect the individual's right to abortion, suicide and euthanasia. I support birth control. I wish to Good that society were rid of smoking, drinking and drugs.
My hope for humanity - and I think sensible science fiction has a beneficial influence in this direction - is that one day everyone born will be whole in body and brain, will live a long life free from physical and emotional pain, will participate in a fulfilling way in their contribution to existence, will enjoy true love and friendship, will pity us 20th century barbarians who lived and died in an atrocious, anachronistic atmosphere of arson, rape, robbery, kidnapping, child abuse, insanity, murder, terrorism, war, smog, pollution, starvation and the other negative “norms” of our current civilization. I have devoted my life to amassing over a quarter million pieces of sf and fantasy as a present to posterity and I hope to be remembered as an altruist who would have been an accepted citizen of Utopia.
Forrest J. Ackerman
After a long and happy life, I find myself at the pearly gates (a sight of great joy; the word for “pearl” in Greek is, by the way, margarita). Standing there is St. Peter. This truly is heaven, for finally my academic questions will receive answers. I immediately begin the questions that have been plaguing me for half a century: “Can you speak Greek? Where did you go when you wandered off in the middle of Acts? How was the incident between you and Paul in Antioch resolved? What happened to your wife?”
Peter looks at me with some bemusement and states, “Look, lady, I’ve got a whole line of saved people to process. Pick up your harp and slippers here, and get the wings and halo at the next table. We’ll talk after dinner.”
As I float off, I hear, behind me, a man trying to gain Peter’s attention. He has located a “red letter Bible,” which is a text in which the words of Jesus are printed in red letters. This is heaven, and all sorts of sacred art and Scriptures, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Qur’an, are easily available (missing, however, was the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version). The fellow has his Bible open to John 14, and he is frenetically pointing at v. 6: “Jesus says here, in red letters, that he is the way. I’ve seen this woman on television (actually, she’s thinner in person). She’s not Christian; she’s not baptized - she shouldn’t be here!”
“Oy,” says Peter, “another one - wait here.”
He returns a few minutes later with a man about five foot three with dark hair and eyes. I notice immediately that he has holes in his wrists, for when the empire executes an individual, the circumstances of that death cannot be forgotten.
“What is it, my son?” he asks.
The man, obviously nonplussed, sputters, “I don’t mean to be rude, but didn’t you say that no one comes to the Father except through you?”
“Well,” responds Jesus, “John does have me saying this.” (Waiting in line, a few other biblical scholars who overhear this conversation sigh at Jesus’s phrasing; a number of them remain convinced that Jesus said no such thing. They’ll have to make the inquiry on their own time.) “But if you flip back to the Gospel of Matthew, which does come first in the canon, you’ll notice in chapter 25, at the judgment of the sheep and the goats, that I am not interested in those who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ but in those who do their best to live a righteous life: feeding the hungry, visiting people in prison . . . ”
Becoming almost apoplectic, the man interrupts, “But, but, that’s works righteousness. You’re saying she’s earned her way into heaven?”
“No,” replies Jesus, “I am not saying that at all. I am saying that I am the way, not you, not your church, not your reading of John’s Gospel, and not the claim of any individual Christian or any particular congregation. I am making the determination, and it is by my grace that anyone gets in, including you. Do you want to argue?”
The last thing I recall seeing, before picking up my heavenly accessories, is Jesus handing the poor man a Kleenex to help get the log out of his eye.
Amy-Jill Levine (The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus)
This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell, the last of a dozen or more which were left when the forest was cut and for fifteen years have waved in solitary majesty over the sprout-land. I saw them like beavers or insects gnawing at the trunk of this noble tree, the diminutive manikins with their cross-cut saw which could scarcely span it. It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum. I watch closely to see when it begins to move. Now the sawers stop, and with an axe open it a little on the side toward which it leans, that it may break the faster. And now their saw goes again. Now surely it is going; it is inclined one quarter of the quadrant, and, breathless, I expect its crashing fall. But no, I was mistaken; it has not moved an inch; it stands at the same angle as at first. It is fifteen minutes yet to its fall. Still its branches wave in the wind, as it were destined to stand for a century, and the wind soughs through its needles as of yore; it is still a forest tree, the most majestic tree that waves over Musketaquid. The silvery sheen of the sunlight is reflected from its needles; it still affords an inaccessible crotch for the squirrel’s nest; not a lichen has forsaken its mast-like stem, its raking mast,—the hill is the hulk. Now, now’s the moment! The manikins at its base are fleeing from their crime. They have dropped the guilty saw and axe. How slowly and majestic it starts! as it were only swayed by a summer breeze, and would return without a sigh to its location in the air. And now it fans the hillside with its fall, and it lies down to its bed in the valley, from which it is never to rise, as softly as a feather, folding its green mantle about it like a warrior, as if, tired of standing, it embraced the earth with silent joy, returning its elements to the dust again. But hark! there you only saw, but did not hear. There now comes up a deafening crash to these rocks , advertising you that even trees do not die without a groan. It rushes to embrace the earth, and mingle its elements with the dust. And now all is still once more and forever, both to eye and ear.
I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already divested it of its branches. Its gracefully spreading top was a perfect wreck on the hillside as if it had been made of glass, and the tender cones of one year’s growth upon its summit appealed in vain and too late to the mercy of the chopper. Already he has measured it with his axe, and marked off the mill-logs it will make. And the space it occupied in upper air is vacant for the next two centuries. It is lumber. He has laid waste the air. When the fish hawk in the spring revisits the banks of the Musketaquid, he will circle in vain to find his accustomed perch, and the hen-hawk will mourn for the pines lofty enough to protect her brood. A plant which it has taken two centuries to perfect, rising by slow stages into the heavens, has this afternoon ceased to exist. Its sapling top had expanded to this January thaw as the forerunner of summers to come. Why does not the village bell sound a knell? I hear no knell tolled. I see no procession of mourners in the streets, or the woodland aisles. The squirrel has leaped to another tree; the hawk has circled further off, and has now settled upon a new eyrie, but the woodman is preparing [to] lay his axe at the root of that also.
Henry David Thoreau (The Journal, 1837-1861)
Now, the last one was that the demon king can’t stand either in heaven or on the earth. Urga set the demon on his lap, which means I guess I’ll have to…sit on your back.”
Awkward. Even though Ren was a big tiger and it would be like riding a small pony, I was still conscious that he was a man, and I didn’t feel right about turning him into a pack animal. I took off my backpack and set it down wondering what I could do to make this a bit less embarrassing. Mustering the courage to sit on his back, I’d just decided that it wouldn’t be too bad if I sat sidesaddle, when my feet flew out from under me.
Ren had changed into a man and swept me up into his arms. I wiggled for a minute, protesting, but he just gave me a look-the don’t-even-bother-coming-up-with-an-argument look. I shut my mouth. He leaned over to pick up the backpack, let it dangle from his fingers, and then said, “What’s next?”
“I don’t know. That’s all that Mr. Kadam told me.”
He shifted me in his arms, walked over to stand in the doorway again, then peered up at the statue. He murmured, “I don’t see any changes.”
He held me securely while looking at the statue and, I have to admit, I totally stopped caring about what we were doing. The scratches on my arm that had been throbbing a moment ago didn’t bother me at all. I let myself enjoy the feeling of being cuddled up close to his muscular chest. What girl didn’t want to be swept up in the arms of a drop-dead gorgeous man? I allowed my gaze to drift up to his beautiful face. The thought occurred to me that if I were to carve a stone god, I’d pick Ren as my subject. This Urga half-lion and half-man guy had nothing on Ren.
Eventually, he realized I was watching him, and said, “Hello? Kells? Breaking a curse here, remember?”
I just smiled back stupidly. He quirked an eyebrow at me.
“What were you thinking about just now?”
He grinned. “May I remind you that you are in prime tickling position, and there’s no escape. Tell me.”
Gads. His smile was brilliant, even in the fog. I laughed nervously.
“If you tickle me, I’ll protest and struggle violently, which will cause you to drop me and ruin everything that we are trying to accomplish.”
He grunted, leaned close to my ear, and then whispered, “That sounds like an interesting challenge, rajkumari. Perhaps we shall experiment with it later. And just for the record, Kelsey, I wouldn’t drop you.”
The way he said my name made goose bumps rise all over my arms. When I looked down to quickly rub them, I noticed the flashlight had been turned off. I switched it on, but the statue remained the same. Giving up, I suggested, “Nothing’s happening. Maybe we need to wait till dawn.”
He laughed throatily while nuzzling my ear and declared softly, “I’d say that something is happening, but not the something that will open the doorway.”
He trailed soft, slow kisses from my ear down my neck. I sighed faintly and arched my neck to give him better access. With a last kiss, he groaned and reluctantly raised his head.
Disappointed that he’d stopped, I asked, “What does rajkumari mean?”
He laughed quietly, carefully set me down, and said, “It means princess.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes”
says the man with a cart of empty bottles at the corner of church
and lincoln while I stare into my phone and I say
I know oh I know while trying to find the specific
filter that will make the sun’s near-flawless descent look
the way I might describe it in a poem and the man
says the moment is already right in front of you and I
say I know but everyone I love is not here and I mean
here like on this street corner with me while I turn
the sky a darker shade of red on my phone and I mean
here like everyone I love who I can still touch and not
pass my fingers through like the wind in a dream
but I look up at the man and he is a kaleidoscope
of shadows I mean his shadows have shadows
and they are small and trailing behind him and I know
then that everyone he loves is also not here and the man doesn’t ask
but I still say hey man I’ve got nothing I’ve got nothing even though I have plenty
to go home to and the sun is still hot even in its
endless flirt with submission and the man’s palm has a small
river inside I mean he has taken my hand now and here we are
tethered and unmoving and the man says what color are you making
the sky and I say what I might say in a poem I say all surrender
ends in blood and he says what color are you making the sky and
I say something bright enough to make people wish they were here
and he squints towards the dancing shrapnel of dying
light along a rooftop and he says I love things only as they are
and I’m sure I did once too but I can’t prove it to anyone these days
and he says the end isn’t always about what dies and I know I know
or I knew once and now I write about beautiful things
like I will never touch a beautiful thing again and the man
looks me in the eyes and he points to the blue-orange vault
over heaven’s gates and he says the face of everyone you miss
is up there and I know I know I can’t see them but I know
and he turns my face to the horizon and he says
we don’t have much time left and I get that he means the time
before the sun is finally through with its daily work or I
think I get that but I still can’t stop trembling and I close
my eyes and I am sobbing on the corner of church and
lincoln and when I open my eyes the sun is plucking everyone
who has chosen to love me from the clouds and carrying them
into the light-drunk horizon and I am seeing this and I know
I am seeing this the girl who kissed me as a boy in the dairy aisle
of meijer while our parents shopped and the older boy on the
basketball team who taught me how to make a good fist and swing
it into the jaw of a bully and the friends who crawled to my porch
in the summer of any year I have been alive they were all there
I saw their faces and it was like I was given the eyes of a newborn
again and once you know what it is to be lonely it is hard to
unsee that which serves as a reminder that you were not always
empty and I am gasping into the now-dark air and I pull my shirt
up to wipe whatever tears are left and I see the man walking in the
other direction and I chase him down and tap his arm and I say did
you see it did you see it like I did and he turns and leans into the
glow of a streetlamp and he is anchored by a single shadow now
and he sneers and he says have we met and he scoffs and pushes
his cart off into the night and I can hear the glass rattling even
as I watch him become small and vanish and I look down at my
phone and the sky on the screen is still blood red.
On behalf of those you killed, imprisoned, tortured, you are not welcome, Erdogan!
No, Erdogan, you’re not welcome in Algeria.
We are a country which has already paid its price of blood and tears to those who wanted to impose their caliphate on us, those who put their ideas before our bodies, those who took our children hostage and who attempted to kill our hopes for a better future. The notorious family that claims to act in the name of the God and religion—you’re a member of it—you fund it, you support it, you desire to become its international leader.
Islamism is your livelihood
Islamism, which is your livelihood, is our misfortune. We will not forget about it, and you are a reminder of it today. You offer your shadow and your wings to those who work to make our country kneel down before your “Sublime Door.” You embody and represent what we loathe. You hate freedom, the free spirit. But you love parades. You use religion for business. You dream of a caliphate and hope to return to our lands.
But you do it behind the closed doors, by supporting Islamist parties, by offering gifts through your companies, by infiltrating the life of the community, by controlling the mosques. These are the old methods of your “Muslim Brothers” in this country, who used to show us God’s Heaven with one hand while digging our graves with the other.
No, Mr. Erdogan, you are not a man of help; you do not fight for freedom or principles; you do not defend the right of peoples to self-determination. You know only how to subject the Kurds to the fires of death; you know only how to subject your opponents to your dictatorship.
You cry with the victims in the Middle East, yet sign contracts with their executioners. You do not dream of a dignified future for us, but of a caliphate for yourself. We are aware of your institutionalized persecution, your list of Turks to track down, your sinister prisons filled with the innocent, your dictatorial justice palaces, your insolence and boastful nature.
You do not dream of a humanity that shares common values and principles, but are interested only in the remaking of the Ottoman Empire and its bloodthirsty warlords. Islam, for you, is a footstool; God is a business sign; modernity is an enemy; Palestine is a showcase; and local Islamists are your stunned courtesans.
Humanity will not remember you with good deeds
Humanity will remember you for your machinations, your secret coups d’état, and your manhunts. History will remember you for your bombings, your vengeful wars, and your inability to engage in constructive dialogue with others. The UN vote for Al-Quds is only an instrument in your service. Let us laugh at this with the Palestinians. We know that the Palestinian issue is your political capital, as it is for many others. You know well how to make a political fortune by exploiting others’ emotions.
In Algeria, we suffered, and still suffer, from those who pretend to be God and act as takers and givers of life. They applaud your coming, but not us. You are the idol of Algerian Islamists and Populists, those who are unable to imagine a political structure beyond a caliphate for Muslim-majority societies.
We aspire to become a country of freedom and dignity. This is not your ambition, nor your virtue.
You are an illusion
You have made beautiful Turkey an open prison and a bazaar for your business and loved ones. I hope that this beautiful nation rises above your ambitions. I hope that justice will be restored and flourish there once again, at least for those who have been imprisoned, tortured, bombed, and killed. You are an illusion, Erdogan—you know it and we know it.
You play on the history of our humiliation, on our emotions, on our beliefs, and introduce yourself as a savior. However, you are a gravedigger, both for your own country and for your neighbors. Turkey is a political miracle, but it owes you nothing. The best thing you can do
Things I've Learned in 18 Years of Life 1) True love is not something found, rather [sic] something encountered. You can’t go out and look for it. The person you marry and the person you love could easily be two different people. So have a beautiful life while waiting for God to bring along your once-in-a-lifetime love. Don't allow yourself to settle for anything less than them. Stop worrying about who you're going to marry because God's already on the front porch watching your grandchildren play. 2) God WILL give you more than you can handle, so you can learn to lean on him in times of need. He won't tempt you more than you can handle, though. So don't lose hope. Hope anchors the soul. 3) Remember who you are and where you came from. Remember that you are not from this earth. You are a child of heaven, you're invaluable, you are beautiful. Carry yourself that way. 4) Don't put your faith in humanity, humanity is inherently flawed. We are all imperfect people created and loved by a perfect God. Perfect. So put your faith in Him. 5) I fail daily, and that is why I succeed. 6) Time passes, and nothing and everything changes. Don't live life half asleep. Don't drag your soul through the days. Feel everything you do. Be there physically and mentally. Do things that make you feel this way as well. 7) Live for beauty. We all need beauty, get it where you can find it. Clothing, paintings, sculptures, music, tattoos, nature, literature, makeup. It's all art and it's what makes us human. Same as feeling the things we do. Stay human. 8) If someone makes you think, keep them. If someone makes you feel, keep them. 9) There is nothing the human brain cannot do. You can change anything about yourself that you want to. Fight for it. It's all a mental game. 10) God didn’t break our chains for us to be bound again. Alcohol, drugs, depression, addiction, toxic relationships, monotony and repetition, they bind us. Break those chains. Destroy your past and give yourself new life like God has given you. 11) This is your life. Your struggle, your happiness, your sorrow, and your success. You do not need to justify yourself to anyone. You owe no one an explanation for the choices that you make and the position you are in. In the same vein, respect yourself by not comparing your journey to anyone else's. 12) There is no wrong way to feel. 13) Knowledge is everywhere, keep your eyes open. Look at how diverse and wonderful this world is. Are you going to miss out on beautiful people, places, experiences, and ideas because you are close-minded? I sure hope not. 14) Selfless actions always benefit you more than the recipient. 15) There is really no room for regret in this life. Everything happens for a reason. If you can't find that reason, accept there is one and move on. 16) There is room, however, for guilt. Resolve everything when it first comes up. That's not only having integrity, but also taking care of your emotional well-being. 17) If the question is ‘Am I strong enough for this?’ The answer is always, ‘Yes, but not on your own.’ 18) Mental health and sanity above all. 19) We love because He first loved us. The capacity to love is the ultimate gift, the ultimate passion, euphoria, and satisfaction. We have all of that because He first loved us. If you think about it in those terms, it is easy to love Him. Just by thinking of how much He loves us. 20) From destruction comes creation. Beauty will rise from the ashes. 21) Many things can cause depression. Such as knowing you aren't becoming the person you have the potential to become. Choose happiness and change. The sooner the better, and the easier. 22) Half of happiness is as simple as eating right and exercising. You are one big chemical reaction. So are your emotions. Give your body the right reactants to work with and you'll be satisfied with the products.
Scott Hildreth (Broken People)