God Knows Our Stories

But the God of Scripture is also the God who refused to nuke Nineveh, even though that’s what Jonah wanted; who forgave David for a really staggering list of wrongdoings; who wants only for us stiff-necked people to repent and come home; who goes out into the stormy night for the one lost black sheep; who throws a party when the Prodigal Son returns; who loves us so much that God did indeed send his only begotten son to come live with us, as one of us, to help understand our stories — each one unique, infinitely valuable, irreplaceable.

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher, quoted in Glimpses of Grace, collected by Carole F. Chase, p. 323

Angry or Joyful

Starting arguments, blaming others, or internalizing anger is not the way to go through life.  Treat the problem knowing that you will get through it, and you will be a better person because of it.  Remember, you can spend your life being angry or joyful.  You control only one thing: your thoughts.  So find the serenity within yourself.  Or as my wife says, “Never go to bed mad.  Stay up and fight.”  Keep your sense of humor, express your feelings, and recognize your power, and you will spend more time at peace than at war.

— Bernie Siegal, M.D., Love, Magic & Mudpies, p. 186

A Gift to Yourself

It’s one of the toughest things in the world when somebody has hurt you, and you can find within yourself the strength to begin the whole process of forgiveness.  And it turns out to be the gift to you, not so much the gift to the person you’re forgiving.

— Fred Rogers, quoted in The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers, by Amy Hollingsworth, p. 98

God’s Fatherly Love

I have been asked, and many times, “But can’t we choose to exclude ourselves?”  Of course.  Haven’t we, as children, haven’t our own children flung out of the room in anger?  And haven’t we waited for them to come back?  We have not slammed the door in their faces.  We have welcomed them home.  Jesus said, “If you . . . know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher, quoted in Glimpses of Grace, compiled by Carole F. Chase, p. 318

Enjoy the Wait

While waiting for direction, we do not have to put our life on hold.  Let go of anxiety and enjoy life.  Relax.  Do something fun.  Enjoy the love and beauty in your life.  Accomplish small tasks.  They may have nothing to do with solving the problem, or finding direction, but this is what we can do in the interim.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 355

Clutter Steals Our Space

Repeat after me:  I only have the space I have.  It comes back to living in the present.  You need space to live a happy, fruitful life.  If you fill up that space with stuff for “the next house,” your present life suffers.  Stop claiming your house is too small.  The amount of space you have cannot be changed — the amount of stuff you have can. . . .  Hoarding for “someday” is never worth it.  If you’re really going to be that much richer, you’ll be able to afford the stuff you need when you need it.

— Peter Walsh, It’s All Too Much:  An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, p. 40

Up to Us

It’s up to us to determine our happiness.   No one else is in charge.  No one else is to blame.  No one else gets the credit.  Our happiness is tied to our willingness to be responsible for our own moods.  That’s a certainty — one of few in this life.  It’s also a certainty that any happiness we feel in the company of others is not the result of their attention, their happiness or good fortune, or their commitment to us.  It’s the result of our commitment to ourselves.  Let’s be grateful for that!  Accepting this, accepting that we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves alone, is the key to allowing the rest of our lives to unfold as they were meant to do.

— Karen Casey, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, p. 51

Why Defining is Abusive

Clearly, when one person defines the other, the person doing the defining (abusing), has closed off from the real person.  When a person is told what they are, think, feel, and so forth, it is not only a lie told to them about themselves, but also it means that the abuser is closed off from the real person.  The abuser cannot really hear, see, and take in information from the real person.  It is as if he sees someone else.  For instance, if the abuser says, “You’re too sensitive” or “You’re not listening,” he is talking to someone whom he defines as “made wrong” or as “not listening.”  So, the real person isn’t seen or heard.  It is as if a wall has arisen between the verbally abusive man and his partner.  This is why, when a man defines his partner, she feels pain.  At some level, she experiences the end of the relationship.

— Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Man, p. 112

Our Own Journey

Minding other people’s business simply isn’t the work we are here to do, regardless of how seductive the idea may be.  We each must make our own journey, and even when it appears that someone we love is making a poor decision about an important matter, unless we are asked for advice, it’s not our place to offer it.  Besides, minding your own business will keep you as busy as you would ever need to be.

— Karen Casey, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, p. 45