Friday, December 14, 2007

Preserve me, O God; For in thee do I take refuge.
[O my soul], thou hast said unto Jehovah,
Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee.
As for the saints that are in the earth,
They are the excellent in whom is all my delight.
Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts for another [god]:
Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer,
Nor take their names upon my lips.
Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup:
Thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
Yea, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel;
Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons.

Psalms 16:1-7, ASV

Monday, December 03, 2007

Absolutely Clear

Don't surrender your loneliness
So Quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight,
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely clear.

~Daniel Ladinsky,
quoted in Jennie Schroedel's article "From Loneliness to Solitude"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

November 22, 1980

In the moment of recognition
we reach
for that
who comes new
upon the wind,
the presents around--
fresh fallen leaves,
the waters sound
and shoreward break

~Rodney Delmont Newton

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

--But yet, continued Gabriel, his voice falling into a softer inflection, there are always in gatherings such as this sadder thoughts that will recur to our minds: thoughts of the past, of youth, of changes, of absent faces that we miss here to-night. Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living. We have all of us living duties and living affections which claim, and rightly claim, our strenuous endeavors.

~James Joyce, "The Dead"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Best I love September's yellow
Morns of dew strung gossamer,
Thoughtful days without a stir;
Rooky clamours, brazen leaves,
Stubble dotted o'er with sheaves-
More than Spring's bright uncontrol
Suit the Autumn of my soul.

~Alexander Smith

Saturday, September 08, 2007

But love is the first comforter, and where love and truth speak, the love will be understood even where the truth is not. Love indeed is the highest in all truth; and the pressure of a hand, a kiss, the caress of a child, will do more to save, sometimes, than the wisest argument, even when rightly understood. Love alone is wisdom, love alone is power. And where love seems to fail, it is where self has stepped between and dulled the potency of its rays.

~George MacDonald, The Lady's Confession
ed. Michael Phillips

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

There is a comfort in the strength of love;
'Twill make a thing endurable, which else
Would overset the brain, or break the heart...

~William Wordsworth, "Michael: A Pastoral Poem"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.

~Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and voices of the night.

~Kahlil Gibran,
The Prophet

Friday, April 13, 2007

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dreaming Eyes of Wonder

A friend shared these resolutions with me, ones he loves to emulate and thought I would enjoy. They were written by Clyde Kilby, a professor a Wheaton College, quite a few years ago now.

1.) At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2.) Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: “There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”

3.) I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but, just as likely, ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4.) I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5.) I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6.) I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are, but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying, and ecstatic” existence.

7.) I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

8.) I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

9.) If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.

10.) Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this veryday, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega.

11.) I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of thepure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Morning Has Broken
Traditional Song, Lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day