Because children grow up, we think a child's purpose is to grow up. But a child's purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn't disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don't value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life's bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it's been sung? The dance when it's been danced? It's only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature's highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we're expected! But there is no such place, that's why it's called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can't arrange our own happiness, it's a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.
What is it about the relationship of a mother that can heal or hurt us? Her womb is the first landscape we inhabit. It is here we learn to respond - to move, to listen, to be nourished and grow. In her body we grow to be human as our tails disappear and our gills turn to lungs. Our maternal environment is perfectly safe - dark, warm, and wet. It is a residency inside the Feminine. When we outgrow our mother's body, our cramps become her own. We move. She labors. Our body turns upside down in hers as we journey through the birth canal. She pushes in pain. We emerge, a head. She pushes one more time, and we slide out like a fish. Slapped on the back by the doctor, we breath. The umbilical cord is cut - not at our request. Separation is immediate. A mother reclaims her body, for her own life. Not ours. Minutes old, our first death is our own birth.
You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats...
We modern human beings are looking at life, trying to make some sense of it; observing a 'reality' that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue--only we've all been issued the wrong librettos. For a text, we're given the Bible. Or the Talmud or the Koran. We're given Time magazine, and Reader's Digest, daily papers, and the six o'clock news; we're given schoolbooks, sitcoms, and revisionist histories; we're given psychological counseling, cults, workshops, advertisements, sales pitches, and authoritative pronouncements by pundits, sold-out scientists, political activists, and heads of state. Unfortunately, none of these translations bears more than a faint resemblance to what is transpiring in the true theater of existence, and most of them are dangerously misleading. We're attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe the barrom melodramas or kindergarten skits. And when's the last time you heard anybody bitch about it to the management?
So...Now that we got that over with, let's get back to love at first sight, Evan said. Not infatuation at first sight...Love. With a capital L, he clarified.Love? Heeb asked, playfully pretending not to know the concept.Yeah. The real thing. The conviction that if you had this one woman, all other women would become irrelevant. You'd never again be unhappy And you'd give up anything to have her and keep her.You've experienced that?Only once. And I haven't stopped thinking about it ever since.Tell me more.Sometimes I think that I still chase women just to forget about her. Because I know I can never have her. But I can't seem to forget about her, no matter what girl I'm chasing...No one can possibly compare....Who is she?Delilah, Evan said wistfully.Delilah?, asked Heeb, intriguedDelilah Nakova, Evan replied, with a hint of awe and reverence in his voice.
We have become a more juvenile culture. We have become a childish "me, me, me" culture with fifteen-second attention spans. The global village that television was supposed to bring is less a village than a playground...Little attempt is made to pass on our cultural inheritance, and our moral and religious traditions are neglected except in the shallow "family values" arguments.
Because life is a symphony it must have its C Minor. Days there be when we hear only a discord of sharps and flats, and we wonder whether harmony will ever be restored. On other days we hear only an ominous, deep strain which seems to say that hope is fled. But why this chill despair? Symphonies are a blending of many tones, high and low, over and under, major and minor. One day cannot make a life a whole any more than shadows can make a picture or minor notes a symphony. We need to hear life's song, not as the discord of a single day, but as the completed harmony of all the years. Then will today's sorrow and tomorrow's disappointment ring forth in major key as glorious melody.
It seemed to him that all his life he had followed the ideals that other people, by their words or their writings, had instilled into him, and never the desires of his own heart. Always his course had been swayed by what he thought he should do and never by what he wanted with his whole soul to do. […] He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slopped through his fingers. His ideals? He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect? It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.
But that wasn't the chief thing that bothered me: I couldn't reconcile myself with that preoccupation with sin that, so far as I could tell, was never entirely absent from the monks' thoughts. I'd known a lot of fellows in the air corps. Of course they got drunk when they got a chance, and had a girl whenever they could and used foul language; we had one or two had hats: one fellow was arrested for passing rubber cheques and was sent to prison for six months; it wasn't altogether his fault; he'd never had any money before, and when he got more than he'd ever dreamt of having, it went to his head. I'd known had men in Paris and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose: I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation. Father Esheim was broad-minded; he thought that hell was the deprivation of God's presence, but if that is such an intolerable punishment that it can justly be called hell, can one conceive that a good God can inflict it? After all, he created men, if he so created them that ti was possible for them to sin, it was because he willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into by back yard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so.If an all-good and all-powerful God created the world, why did he create evil? The monks said, so that man by conquering the wickedness in him, by resisting temptation, by accepting pain and sorrow and misfortune as the trials sent by God to purify him, might at long last be made worthy to receive his grace. It seem to me like sending a fellow with a message to some place and just to make it harder for him you constructed a maze that he had to get through, then dug a moat that he had to swim and finally built a wall that he had to scale. I wasn't prepared to believe in an all-wise God who hadn't common sense. I didn't see why you shouldn't believe in a God who hadn't created the world, buyt had to make the best of the bad job he'd found, a being enormously better, wiser and greater than man, who strove with the evil he hadn't made and who might be hoped in the end to overcome it. But on the other hand I didn't see why you should.
Then this must be my answer: We know that the attributes of God are infinite and it has always seemed strange to me that men have never given Him credit for common sense. It is hard to believe that He would have created so beautiful a world if He had not decided men to enjoy it. Would He have given the stars their glory, the birds their sweet song, and the flowers, their fragrance if He had not wished us to delight in them? I shave sinned before men and men have condemned me. God made me a man with passions of a man, and did He give them to me only that I should suppress them? He gave me my adventurous spirit and my love of life. I have a humble hope that when I am face to face with my Maker He will condone my imperfections and I shall find mercy in His sight.
He accepted the deformity which had made life so hard for him; he knew that it had warped his character, but no he saw also that by reason of it he had acquired that power of introspection which had given him so much delight. Without it he would never have had his keen appreciation of beauty, his passion for art and literature, and his interest in the varied spectacle of life. […] Then he saw that normal was the rarest thing in the world. Everyone had some defect of body or of mind […] The only reasonable thing was to accept the good of men and be patient with their faults.
I don't know if we'd call this a renaissance, but I think he's certainly coming back to life both on and off the court. He may never get back to where his potential was two or three years ago, but there was always the sense that he could rebuild some of that equity. ... It's clear he's well on his way.
We must be willing to accept the bitter truth that, in the end, we may have to become a burden to those who love us. But it is necessary that we face this also. The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness is the virtue that can make us and others rich in the grace of God. It takes heroic charity and humility to let others sustain us when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves. We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere, both in suffering and in the charity of those who come to the aid of our affliction.
Supposing there is no life everlasting. Think what it means if death is really the end of all things. They've given up all for nothing. They've been cheated. They're dupes."Waddington reflected for a little while. "I wonder if it matters what they have aimed at is illusion. Their lives are in themselves beautiful. I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books the write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
It is more than twenty years since we left the city. This is a serious chunk of time, longer than the years we spent living there. Yet we still think of Jerusalem as our home. Not home in the sense of the place that you conduct your daily life or constantly return to. In fact, Jerusalem is our home almost against our wills. It is our home because it defines us, whether we like it or not.