Amma Theodora said, ‘Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate, Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.’ The same amma said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls. She also said that neither asceticism, nor vigils nor any kind of suffering are able to save, only true humility can do so.
“Sure, we’d faced some things as children that a lot of kids don’t. Sure, Justin had qualified for his Junior de Sade Badge in his teaching methods for dealing with pain. We still hadn’t learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.
Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind – gradutaing, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expecations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.
And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last – and yet will remain with you for life.
Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.
Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.”
― Jim Butcher
Wind by Ali Cobby Eckermann
she sits on a rocky ledge
overlooking frog song
puncturing a choked river
it is only here native birds sing
their evening lullaby
echoed between red banks
overgrown with weeds
it’s like life slips away in the evening
a resounding of Salientia castanets
soon to fall silent
like flaking moss
she listens for earth song
under the algae and foreign reeds
and just as darkness falls
a fish jumps rippling memory
Airy, Fairy Lilian,
Flitting, fairy Lilian,
When I ask her if she love me,
Claps her tiny hands above me,
Laughing all she can;
She ‘ll not tell me if she love me,
Cruel little Lilian.
When my passion seeks
Pleasance in love-sighs,
She, looking thro’ and thro’ me
Thoroughly to undo me,
Smiling, never speaks:
So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,
From beneath her gathered wimple
Glancing with black-bearded eyes,
Till the lightning laughters dimple
The baby-roses in her cheeks;
Then away she flies.
Prythee weep, May Lilian!
Gaiety without eclipse
Thro’ my every heart it thrilleth
When from crimson-threaded lips
Silver-treble laughter trilleth:
Praying all I can,
If prayers will not hush thee, Airy Lilian,
Like a rose-leaf I will crush thee, Fairy Lilian.
~George Bernard Shaw
“I applied my reason at every moment. Reason is excellent for getting food, clothing and shelter. Reason is the very best tool kit. Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
“Great cry, and little wool, as the Devil said when he sheared the hogs”.
― David Allen
“The sea was cruel and selfish as human beings, and in its monstrous simplicity had no notion of complexities like pity, wounding, or remorse… You could see yourself in it… while the wind, the light, the swaying, the sound of the water on the hull worked the miracle of distancing, calming you until you didn’t hurt anymore, erasing any pity, any wound, and any remorse.”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Queen Of The South
“I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them.”
― Philip Pullman
― Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s Schooldays
“In those days I had various strong inclinations, for wine, gambling and cockfighting, and the society of gypsies, together with a passion for theological discussion which I had inherited from my father himself—all of which my father thought I had better rid myself of before I married.”
― Isak Dinesen