They were nothing more than people, by themselves. Even paired, any pairing, they would have been nothing more than people by themselves. But all together, they have become the heart and muscles and mind of something perilous and new, something strange and growing and great. Together, all together, they are the instruments of change.
[Keri Hulme in her novel, The Bone People]
These words are taken entirely out of context. But when I read them, my heart caught in my throat and the faces of so many men and women I have the great honor of working with each day flooded my thoughts. Indeed, we are nothing more than people, by ourselves – so thank goodness we are not alone.
But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.
[Gustavo Gutierrez, Peruvian theologian, priest, and social activist]
With these words, Padre Gutierrez challenged an oppressive social order, calling for a liberation theology and preferential option for the poor, but it appears social inequalities are only rising in Latin America – the region Gutierrez is from and where I work. These days, these words ring in my ears.
We have a lot of work to do.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
Words can’t express how bittersweet this weekend has been – simultaneous feelings of leaving and of coming home as I reunite with my husband for our next adventure, and as we prepare to leave this last, beautiful chapter of our life in North Carolina behind. With the help of friends who have become family, we spent the weekend watching baseball, catching fireflies, swinging in the hammock, camping in the backyard, dancing in the living room, and oh yes – packing…so that tomorrow we can tearfully and hopefully leave our home of three years.
It is bitter, but it is sweet. There are a lot of unknowns but our hearts are full. We are lucky and we are loved.
Neither do people light a lamp
and put it under a bowl. Instead
they put it on its stand, and it
gives light to everyone in the house.
Somehow, I am reminded of these words whenever I need it most. This quote was read at my wedding, and it was the contents of a love letter I received today.
I hope you surround yourself with people who encourage you to shine.
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
-St Francis de Sales
These are some words I carry with me. There can be calm amidst the chaos.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it inmy heart)i am never without it(anywherei go you go,my dear;and whatever is doneby only me is your doing,my darling)i fearno fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i wantno world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meantand whatever a sun will always sing is youhere is the deepest secret nobody knows(here is the root of the root and the bud of the budand the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which growshigher than soul can hope or mind can hide)and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars aparti carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
-Mother Theresa (via Alexa Farmer – thanks for the reminder, sis)
The next passage in my journey is a love affair. I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, with with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it…It seems to me that Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda….But I see that as usual, love is inarticulate. Montana has a spell on me. It is grandeur and warmth. Of all the states it is my favorite and my love.
[John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley]