It was early in the morning, but he knew exactly what was happening in his chest and woke my mother to ask her to call an ambulance. Our telephone was in the living room, but before she could leave their bedroom to use it, he asked for something else. My father asked that the ambulance not use its siren.
Weeks later, when the fear of death had receded like some strange tide, my mother asked him about the siren. My father said simply that he worried it would have woken and frightened his three sleeping daughters. It is true that we were all light sleepers and that our farm was usually blanketed by the polite silence that comes from having no close neighbors, but what impossible kindness there was in my father’s request.
I have called it an act of kindness, which I think it was. It was considerate in a way I cannot begin to understand; generous in a way no one would expect, much less demand. Years later I still do not comprehend how in what very well might have been the final moments of his life, my father thought to ask for quiet so that his daughters might continue sleeping.
Kindness is like holding an ice cube in your hands. It stings, but then the cold dissolves; what at first you could barely hold becomes something you cannot let go. My father’s request for a quiet ambulance came from a man so familiar with kindness that the sting was completely gone: the ice was no longer cold, but one with the flesh.
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
“Abortions are as much the result of a culture inhospitable to life as they are to the weak sources of support that arise out of that culture and the decisions of individual mothers.”—Elizabeth Stoker, Why I’m a pro-life liberal (via theweekmagazine)
“But I say to you,” the Lord says, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you.” Why did he command these things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.”—St. Maximus the Confessor (via gospelofthekingdom)
Lately I’ve been trying to get in the habits on reflecting over the positive and negative aspects of my day. Partially because it helps me to see the good (and to do that #100happydays thing on instagram), but also because then I an see my sins of the day. As an active Catholic I try and go to confession regularly, and it can be hard to remember things in the moment that I want to confess. That leaves me going to just the names of the sins, not how they are triggered and manifest. So I started doing a daily examination of conscience. Usually I find myself (well, admitting to myself) problems with lust, envy, gluttony, and sloth. However, as I have self confidence issues I never would have listed pride as one of my major sins. That has completely changed now.
“A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one. Time spent appreciating is time worth living.”—(via living-the-adventure)
“You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever.
That’s why, when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”—How I Met Your Mother (via hnji)
So many emotions to go with this one, especially since I am trying to decide what’s going on with grad school and I have friends leaving for grad programs. I am so happy in my life, that even though I know I have great adventures ahead I can’t even imagine how I can be happier. I suppose it’s time to invest in stationary and stamps, because I’m about to become the letter-writing queen bee of the PNW with everyone I need to keep in touch with.
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.
“Cities are smells: Acre is the smell of iodine and spices. Haifa is the smell of pine and wrinkled sheets. Moscow is the smell of vodka on ice. Cairo is the smell of mango and ginger. Beirut is the smell of the sun, sea, smoke, and lemons. Paris is the smell of fresh bread, cheese, and derivations of enchantment. Damascus is the smell of jasmine and dried fruit. Tunis is the smell of night musk and salt. Rabat is the smell of henna, incense and honey. A city that cannot be known by its smell is unreliable. Exiles have a shared smell: the smell of longing for something else; a smell that remembers another smell. A painting, nostalgic that guides you, like a worn tourist map, to the smell of the original place. A smell is a memory and a setting sun. Sunset, here, is beauty rebuking the stranger. But to love the sunset is not, as they say, one of the attributes of exile.”—Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence (via yesyes)
“I kept saying, I can’t take one more thing….then one more thing would happen, and another after that. Finally, I surrendered. If God thought I was such a bad ass, then fine. I trusted him. And that’s when everything started falling in to place.”—K. (via with-grace-and-guts)
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes a brilliant observation about gospel -humility at the very end of his chapter on pride. If we were to meet a truly humble person , Lewis says, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble. They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less
Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.
“If people want to let you go, just let them do it. They may not understand who you are. So don’t play around with fire; don’t give them their cake and let them eat it too. Here is your rule of thumb: they either commit to you or get none of you.”—The Heartbreak Hotel: How Long Will You Stay? (via buttondownsandbackpacks)
I’m needing to remember this right now as I let far too many people live in my head rent-free.
Reading today’s devotional, having my coffee, finishing a book, basking in the glory of a new day from the Creator.
His blessings have been so abundant these past two days and it’s been more apparent than ever that these great joys are from Him.
Lately, I’ve been intentional about praying. To…
I’m thinking that this is how I will need to spend my Wednesday morning off - with a walk, a prayer, and some time talking to the Lord. I’ve been spending too much time lately listening to all the bad voices out there and not enough time listening to Him and his love.