We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Eliot
This cycle is vicious and it is unrelenting.
It is a life filled with excuses,
and false, temporary, band-aid satisfactions
that have transformed into ball and chains.
– Zara Ibrahim (my friend, a writer and poet)
Two things define you: patience when you have nothing, and attitude when you have everything.
Suddenly my parents were gone. They were prepared for whatever sacrifice democracy required, but the loss was overwhelming. I’ll always feel the abundance of love they’d given me. I believe abundance is staying in close contact with gratitude, appreciating each day’s fullness. Our country is financially poor, but in terms of our people’s wisdom, grace, and decency we’re wealthy. Emerging from thirty years of dictatorship, more than ever I see how abundance requires giving back. Service is the rent we pay for being in the world, a generosity that honors all people on this planet. To be grand means to give. Spiritually, I feel small and ugly if I’m not generous.
Also, abundance involves forgiving, allowing our hearts to get broken, then open again. Forgiveness means letting go of baggage, your grudges, and fears. If you don’t leave these bags behind, you’ll miss the bus. Abundance feels like beautiful, clear water flowing through my soul. It sweeps the dirt away, makes me deeply thankful for all my blessings.
– Hafsat Abiola, Nigerian human rights activist
It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
– Marina Keegan
He was threatened by my weaknesses and intimidated by my strengths. I knew it was time to move on.
– A Counseling Psychologist and a friend
Where’s the fight? he wondered.
Where’s the will to hold on?
Of course, at thirteen, he was a little excessive in his harshness. He had not looked something like me in the face. Not yet.
With the rest of them, he stood around the bed and watched the man die – a safe merge, from life to death. The light in the window was gray and orange, the color of summer’s skin, and his uncle appeared relieved when his breathing disappeared completely.
“When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.”
Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry.
I like that a lot.
– Markus Zusak in The Book Thief
I cannot stay objective. I have experienced love and pain, and I learned that life is not easy. That’s what happens when you truly experience life – you get emotional. And that’s okay.
– Ron Suskind during a speech for Autism Awareness Day at the NIH
(from memory…did not quote verbatim)
“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
O Me! O Life!
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
– Walt Whitman