A Tiny Scrap of Time

From deep in the tradition, from The Cloud of Unknowing, a fourteenth-century text from an unnamed English monk: “You only need a tiny scrap of time to move toward God.”

The words slap. Busyness is not much of an excuse if it only takes a minute or two to move toward God.

But the monk’s words console, too. For, of time and person, it seems that scraps are all I have to bring forward. That my ways of coming to God these days are all scraps.

— Lauren F. Winner, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, p. 108

The Promise of Beauty

She was right. There is always an answer to despair, and that is the promise of beauty waiting in the future. I know it is coming because I have seen and felt beauty in the past. Stacks of apricots in Rome; raccoon footprints in snow; piles of oyster shells bleached white over winter; lime green leaves of spring; burnt orange leaves of fall; Vermeer’s Young Woman with a Water Pitcher; the old stone walls of Connecticut winding around my yard; Venice at dusk, rose-colored from sky and sea: memories of beauty, sometimes experienced alone and sometimes shared.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 43

Forgiving Jesus

We don’t often know why things have happened the way they have in our lives. What we do know is that we were hurt, and part of that hurt is toward Jesus, because in our hearts we believe he let it happen. Again, this is not the time for sifting theological nuances, but this is why it is so important for you to look at the world the way Jesus did — as a vicious battle with evil. When you understand you have an enemy that has hated your guts ever since you were a child, it will help you not to blame this stuff on God. Anyhow, the facts are it happened, we are hurt that it happened, and part of us believes Jesus should have done something about it and didn’t. That is why we need to “forgive” him. We do so in order that this part of us can draw near him again, and receive his love.

Perhaps part of the fruit of that restoration will be that Jesus will then be able to explain to us why things happened the way they did. This is often the case. But whether we receive this or not, we know we need Jesus far more than we need understanding. And so we forgive — meaning, we release the offense we feel towards him.

— John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw, p. 164-165

Serving God

I believe serving God means being true to who He made you to be. It means allowing yourself to feel and be cognizant of the God-given desires stirring inside you. He isn’t going to call you to be a doctor if the sight of blood makes you queasy. He isn’t going to ask you to step onto a stage and sing if you’re tone deaf and prone to stage fright. It’s true that God may put us in uncomfortable positions sometimes. But His purpose in those times is for us to grow, not for us to fail.

— Christi Paul, Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, p. 90-91

They’re All Readers.

I need to put forward more encouraging terms for my students than the negative popular terminology struggling and reluctant. Where is the hope in thses terms? I prefer to use positive language to identify the readers in my classes. Peeking into my classroom, I see sixty different readers with individual reading preferences and abilities, but I consistently recognize three trends: developing readers, dormant readers, and underground readers.

— Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, p. 24