Who Suffers?

One thing I have learned over time is that if we cling to our feelings of anger, or worse, if we fan the flames of hatred, we are the ones who suffer. The person with whom we are angry may be affected for a moment or two, but no matter how much we rant and rave they go on with their lives. We are left with the fire burning inside. We lose sleep. We can’t even enjoy a book, a movie, or a hot fudge sundae. As the Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

— Allan Lokos, Patience, p. 27

The Last Word

I know this is not the current version of what is psychologically “correct,” because we all seem to think we need nothing but unconditional love. Any law, correction, rule, or limitation is another word for conditional love. It is interesting to me that very clear passages describing both God’s conditional love and also God’s unconditional love are found in the same Scriptures, like Deuteronomy and John’s Gospel. The only real biblical promise is that unconditional love will have the last word!

— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, p. 33

Reading Regardless of Medium?

The medium does matter. It matters greatly. The experience of reading words on a networked computer, whether it’s a PC, an iPhone, or a Kindle, is very different from the experience of reading those same words in a book. As a technology, a book focuses our attention, isolates us from the myriad distractions that fill our everyday lives. A networked computer does precisely the opposite. It is designed to scatter our attention. It doesn’t shield us from environmental distractions; it adds to them. The words on a computer screen exist in a welter of conflicting stimuli.

— Nicholas Carr, “The Bookless Library,” in Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?, edited by John Brockman

Why Jesus Came

Love is what God is,
love is why Jesus came,
and love is why he continues to come
year after year to person after person. . . .

May you experience this vast,
expansive, infinite, indestructible love
that has been yours all along.
May you discover that this love is as wide
as the sky and as small as the cracks in
your heart no one else knows about.
And may you know,
deep in your bones,
that love wins.

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 197-198

It’s Not About You.

Verbal abuse is always about the abuser, not about you. When verbal abuse is directed to you, or to someone in your sphere, you can find the right words and demeanor to respond by remembering that their words and behavior stem from deep within them. Their words and behavior are not a true reflection of anyone else’s worth, value, or true spirit. Knowing this, you are able to calmly address the perpetrator as though speaking to a destructive child.

— Patricia Evans, Victory Over Verbal Abuse, p. 162

Go Deeper

When I coach students through essay writing, I invariably give the most able the same direction: go deeper, go deeper. In each iteration, reveal more, of who you truly are, of what you really think. That’s the hallmark of aging, too, that we learn to go deeper, in our friendships, in our family life, in our reflections on how we live and how we face the future. The reason we develop an equanimity about our lives and ourselves is that we have gone deep into what has real meaning.

— Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, p. 149

Shout With Joy

“Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,” declares Psalm 47:1-2. Instead of hearing it as exaggerated, we need to take this advice to heart. We do need to be able to rejoice with God. We do need to be able to shout with joy. Many of us are far too emotionally guarded to actually be able to do so. We carry ourselves as though braced for the worst. We are ready to be good sports about God’s will for us, but we are not ready to really revel in the joy of what God is unfolding for us. We are prepared to accept the negative but not the positive. The positive sends us reeling. We feel out of our depth, but are we?

Perhaps, with a little help from God, we can become accustomed to God’s generosity. Perhaps we can become accustomed to God’s will and our will coinciding. It’s worth trying. We need to remain calm and centered as great good comes to us. We need to respond to life with a spirit of exuberance. We need to anticipate and accept the new opportunities that await us. We need to stay as close to God in times of joy as we do in times of sorrow. We need to pray with the words of Psalm 3:3, “You, O Lord, are a shield around me.”

Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 154-155

Forgiveness is Not Excusing.

The people who have hurt you have possibly done something that is very wrong, and wrong is wrong — that’s all there is to it. When you forgive someone, you don’t excuse the person’s wrong actions; you merely detach yourself from your involvement in that person’s actions and drop your burden of pain about the situation.

— Mary Hayes Grieco, Unconditional Forgiveness, p. 22