“And what of regrets? I shall live with them. I shall accept my regrets as part of my life, to be numbered among my self-inflicted wounds. But I will not endlessly gaze at them. I shall allow the memories to prod me into doing better with those still living. And I shall allow them to sharpen the vision and intensify the hope for that Great Day coming when we can all throw ourselves into each other's arms and say, "I'm sorry.”
“But we all suffer. For we all prize and love; and in this present existence of ours, prizing and loving yield suffering. Love in our world is suffering love. Some do not suffer much, though, for they do not love much. Suffering is for the loving. This, said Jesus, is the command of the Holy One: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.”
“God is not only the God of the sufferers but the God who suffers. ... It is said of God that no one can behold his face and live. I always thought this meant that no one could see his splendor and live. A friend said perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live. Or perhaps his sorrow is splendor. ... Instead of explaining our suffering God shares it.”
“Faith is a footbridge that you don't know will hold you up over the chasm until you're forced to walk out onto it.”
“How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become humanity's song--all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain yourself.
We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.”
“THE TEARS ... streamed down, and I let them flow as freely as they would, making of them a pillow for my heart. On them it rested."
Confessions IX, i z”
“IT’S THE neverness that is so painful. Never again to be here with us—never to sit with us at table, never to travel with us, never to laugh with us, never to cry with us, never to embrace us as he leaves for school, never to see his brothers and sister marry. All the rest of our lives we must live without him. Only our death can stop the pain of his death. A month, a year, five years—with that I could live. But not this forever. I step outdoors into the moist moldly fragrance of an early summer morning and arm in arm with my enjoyment comes the realization that never again will he smell this. As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return, He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. JOB 7:9-10 One small misstep and now this endless neverness.”
“But the pain of the no more outweighs the gratitude of the once was. Will it always be so? I didn’t know how much I loved him until he was gone. Is love like that?”
“IT’S so WRONG, so profoundly wrong, for a child to die before its parents. It’s hard enough to bury our parents. But that we expect. Our parents belong to our past, our children belong to our future. We do not visualize our future without them. How can I bury my son, my future, one of the next in line? He was meant to bury me!”
“A friend said, “Remember, he’s in good hands.” I was deeply moved. But that reality does not put Eric back in my hands now. That’s my grief. For that grief, what consolation can there be other than having him back?”
“When death is no longer seen as release from this miserable materiality into our rightful immateriality, when death is seen rather as the slicing off of what God declared to be, and what all of us feel to be, of great worth, then death is—well, not friend but enemy. Though I shall indeed recall that death is being overcome, my grief is that death still stalks this world and one day knifed down my Eric. Nothing fills the void of his absence. He’s not replaceable. We can’t go out and get another just like him.”
“Don’t say it’s not really so bad. Because it is. Death is awful, demonic. If you think your task as comforter is to tell me that really, all things considered, it’s not so bad, you do not sit with me in my grief but place yourself off in the distance away from me. Over there, you are of no help.”
“How did you do it?” I say. “I don’t know,” he says. “I just heard your voice.”
“All my life, my heart has sought a thing I cannot name.
Remembered line from a long-
“Who's your daddy?'
Myrnin stared at him as if he'd gone completely mental. 'Excuse me?”
“[Bobby Tom] finally understood Gracie's function in his life. She was God's joke on him.”
“Being afraid was not the sort of thing that endangered life or limb, but it was still an injury of sorts – and sometimes a deeper and more serious kind of injury.”
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