A Party

Neither son understands that the father’s love was never about any of that. The father’s love cannot be earned, and it cannot be taken away.

It just is.

It’s a party,
a celebration,
an occasion without beginning and without end.

It goes on, well into the night,
and into the next day,
and the next
and the next.
Without any finish in sight.

Your deepest, darkest sins and your shameful secrets are simply irrelevant when it comes to the counterintuitive, ecstatic announcement of the gospel.

So are your goodness, your rightness, your church attendance, and all of the wise, moral, mature decisions you have made and actions you have taken.

It simply doesn’t matter when it comes to the surprising, unexpected declaration that God’s love simply is yours.

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 187-188

Beauty for a Lifetime

It is a gift we humans have, to hold on to beauty felt in a moment for a lifetime. Suddenly beauty comes to us, and gratefully we take it. We may not be able to recite time and place, but the memories can come flooding back, felt full force without warning or brought on purposefully by a triggering event. The smell of pinecones, the whiff of popcorn, the taste of a cold beer, or the bite of mint: a jumble of feelings, and then a sudden clarity of beauty or joy or sadness. Beauty is in the moments that endure, the moments that enliven us again and again. We stand on memory’s sturdy pilings. We thrive on the nourishment provided by the past.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 42

Who Do We Believe In?

It takes courage to follow our bliss. We must first convince ourselves that it is permissible. We must have the faith that our will and God’s will can coincide, that doing what we wish and pursuing what we love is all right with God, not counter to his intentions for us. We may discover that we unconsciously believe in a God concept that is lethal to our happiness. We may believe in a stingy God or a capricious God. We may believe in an Indian giver God who dangles the prize before us only to snatch it away. We must sometimes do a little sleuthing to see exactly what kind of God we believe in and whether that God also believes in us. The results of our sleuthing may surprise us.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 153

Patience and Forgiveness

Patience is supported and nurtured by a quality of forgiveness. Understanding that others, just like ourselves, are affected by stress, disappointment, and frustration is the first step toward being able to forgive, to let it go. Forgiveness of others becomes possible as we learn to forgive ourselves. When anger, resentment, bitterness, irritation, and other such feelings take hold of us, we can’t enjoy peace or a feeling of ease. When others sense our anger, and they will, they can find it difficult to trust us. Thus, we create unrest not only for ourselves, but for those around us as well. On the other hand, when we begin to conscientiously overcome our anger, happiness and inner peace will be present more often.

Allan Lokos, Patience, p. 26

Learning to Recover From Falling

We are not helping our chldren by always preventing them from what might be necessary falling, because you learn how to recover from falling by falling! It is precisely by falling off the bike many times that you eventually learn what the balance feels like. The skater pushing both right and left eventually goes where he or she wants to go. People who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realizing it at all. That is why they are so hard to live with. Please think about that for a while.

— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, p. 28

The Noble Pun

It’s about freeing our imagination to leap from one idea to the next to the next, even when those leaps seem illogical or impossible. And it is precisely that capacity to link wildly disparate ideas that enabled people, through thousands of generations of trial and error, to move from cave to skyscraper to space station, and from drum to telegraph to iPhone.

In a way, the pun was humanity’s first hyperlink, a way to identify and articulate potential connections that aren’t necessarily or immediately apparent. Punning was and remains a way to sling a verbal rope, in an instant, across vast conceptual canyons. It is this same urge to imagine, explore and establish new connections that fuels creativity generally, and science specifically. Not that puns are a substitute for reason, but neither is reason a substitute for imagination. If imagination didn’t exist, what cause would reason have to set out on a given journey, to prove or disprove a given proposition? Puns reveal a mind free to roam frontiers of possibility, without shame or fear of being wrong.

— John Pollack, The Son Also Rises, p. 143

Like Us

I would say that my deepest spiritual understanding is that God also sees and forgives my smallest detail, even my flickery, prickly, damaged, jealous, vain self, and sees how I get self-righteous and feel either like trash, often, or superior, and like such a scaredy-cat, and God still understands exactly what that feels like. Because God has had the experience of being people, through Jesus.

Jesus had his good days and bad days and stomach viruses. Not to mention that on top of it all, he had a mom who had bad days and good days of her own. She’s like me and Amy, like all of us; she would have been as hormonal, too. And she must have been jealous sometimes of the people Jesus chose to spend time with instead of her. Jealousy is such a toxic virus. “Who are these people? And what do they have that I don’t have?” It’s pretty easy to be deeply selfish when it comes to sharing your child. Even Mary must have been like: “Back off! He’s mine.

— Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required, p. 228-229

Love Poems from God

I hope a few of these poems will reach in deep enough to cure what separates us from each other, and from the beautiful. I hope you fall into this wine barrel (this book) and crawl out legally drunk, and get arrested for doing something that makes God proud of you, like being too happy.

— Daniel Ladinsky, Love Poems from God, page xii

Reading Connection

That’s what’s so wonderful about reading, that books and poetry and essays make us feel as though we’re connected, as though the thoughts and feelings we believe are singular and sometimes nutty are shared by others, that we are all more alike than different. It’s the wonderful thing about writing, too. Sometimes I would think I was the only person alive concerned about some crazy cul-de-sac of human behavior. Then I would get the letters from readers and realize that that was not the case, that we were not alone, any of us.

— Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, p. x


I began to believe that God hears every prayer and that healing is not necessarily a matter of receiving a physical cure. It may mean that you discover, as I did, that you have a great deal more courage in you than you ever knew about.

— Caroline Myss, quoting “Ann,” Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, p. 104