Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekly Quotes Part 6

Anne of the Island

We are never half so interesting when we have learned that language is given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts.  (156)

Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence.  Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.  (217-218)

There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves–so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful.  (218)

Younger By the Day

If you don’t love your work . . ., can you love what it’s doing for you, prospering your life or getting you out and getting your mind off yourself?  (54)

Garland of Love

Just because you love somebody doesn’t mean you can’t hurt them–and by the same token it doesn’t give you the right to hurt them.  (February 6)

It’s easy to love when we’re blissfully happy, when we are in love and everything is running smoothly.  But love is tested in hard times, is developed in crises, and reaches its full maturity when unexpected tragedies befall us.  (February 10)

Simple Abundance

Children are not the only ones who need regular bedtimes, mealtimes, and quiet times.  Their mothers do too.  Think of the steady, reassuring rhythm of the natural world–the ebb and flow of the tides, the recurring cycle of the four seasons, the monthly phases of the moon, and the daily progression from day into night.  Rhythm needs to be the cornerstone in our personal world as well.  (February 6)

It’s far easier to live an elegant, beautiful life when you’re not on a budget.  When cash is readily available, you don’t have to learn the lessons that delayed gratification teaches us.  But having money does not guarantee that we live authentically.  Nor does being surrounded by beautiful things guarantee a lifetime of happiness.  If you receive heartbreaking news, it’s not more comforting to sob into a damask and silk-tasseled cushion.  (February 10)

Death’s Door

[U]nfilled needs for ceremonial grief had by mid-century been given special poignancy by technological innovations that transformed the relationship of mourners to history and memory–namely, the development of films and videos that allow the bereaved to see and hear images of the dead as if they were still among the living.  But even while such ghostly presences were unprecedented, they were (and are) especially unnerving in a cultural context in which death is a scandal to be avoided or denied and grief an embarrassment to be deplored or derided.  Can the dead be in and of history and memory if we can still see them and hear them?  Sine we don’t want to mourn anyway, how do we mourn them when they seem still to be here?  Equally to the point, how can we bear witness to the absolute fact that they are not here?  (411)

Yet as the alternately awkward and halting response to the emergency of 9/11 indicate, there comes a time when only silence can speak the truth s we wait for the ‘ancient precious / and helpless’ words to ‘say it.’  Commenting on the ‘silence fuming at the century’s door’ that hung over ground zero, the poet Gail Griffin noted that ‘From here we walk with smoke in our throats,’ and added what may be the two most crucial questions we can ask: ‘What story begins here? / What book follows Revelation?’ (459)

‘Closure’ is what mourners are said to seek, what the ill or dying are thought to need, what victims of crime and other ugly plots are supposed to require.  And we’re counseled that ‘closure’ can be achieved through certain actions, sometimes actions undertaken by others on behalf of the wronged and wounded, sometimes undertaken by the bereaved and wronged on their own behalf.  (460)

[I]t was these ‘improvised memorials,’ these spontaneous shrines to personhood rather than to godhood, that really spoke for the needs of a cultural sensibility that no longer unites to find consolation in traditional religious structures.  (461)

But obviously, no matter how we struggle to achieve ‘closure,’ death’s door didn’t close, can’t and won’t close.  Indeed, the truism that death’s door is always open has been the argument of this book.  Although the Church once closed or at least glamorized that portal, it’s now almost always at least ajar.  (462)

[Looking], just looking, at this perpetually open door is in itself a victory.  (463)

Peace and Plenty

Be very sorry and pray for the ‘lucky’ people, the people you might envy, those who have not known the vestige of sorrow, or grief, or misery before they are forty because their ledgers of loss will be incalculable.  (5-6)

Believe it or not, keeping up appearance can make all the difference in how well we end up weathering life’s storms.  (107)

Romancing the Ordinary

Women often confuse love and romance. . . .  While both are frequently in each other’s company, they’re not the same.  Think of love as emotion.  Romance is its evocative expression.  (51)

Perhaps if you’d start behaving as an eager participant instead of a jaded critic, Life would surprise you.  (54)

Some of the happiest women and men I know are outrageous flirts.  While flirting seems to be more natural to some than others, in reality flirting is an acquired skill.  Flirting has nothing to do with looks, age, or your weight.  Flirting has everything to do with your attitude and your sense of adventure.  (64)

[W]hen we concentrate on making other people feel fabulous instead of impressing them . . . [t]hey’re impressed by how fabulous we are and want to know us better. (64)

Regarding the Pain of Others

Who believes that war can be abolished?  No one, not even pacifists.  (5)

No ‘we’ should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people’s pain.  (7)

The photographer’s intentions do not determine the meaning of the photograph, which will have its own career, blown by the whims and loyalties of the diverse communities that have use for it.  (39)

Perhaps the only people with the right to look at images of suffering . . . are those who could do something to alleviate it . . . or those who could learn from it.  The rest of us are voyeurs, whether or not we mean to be.  (42)

A photograph is supposed not to evoke but to show. . . .  Everyone is a literalist when it comes to photographs.  (47)

Central to modern expectations, and modern ethical feeling, is the conviction that war is an aberration, if an unstoppable one.  That peace is the norm, if an unattainable one.  This, of course, is not the way war has been regarded throughout history.  War has been te norm and peace the exception.  (74)

The Kindness Handbook

Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.  (Quoting Dan in Real Life)

Instead of thinking that growth and understanding will come from doing battle with aspects of ourselves, or thinking they will come from enmity toward emotions, memories, and longings that we actually can’t keep from arising, we discover that kindness and compassion for ourselves is the best and most healing trajectory for transformation.  (39)

Gone With the Wind

Then it’s little enough you are knowing of any living man. . . .  No wife has ever changed a husband one whit, and don’t you be forgetting that.  (47)

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