Quotes from Lila

Marilynne Robinson ·  261 pages

Rating: (22.5K votes)


“It felt very good to have him walking beside her. Good like rest and quiet, like something you could live without but you needed anyway. That you had to learn how to miss, and then you'd never stop missing it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“This is not to say that joy is a compensation for loss, but that each of them, joy and loss, exists in its own right and must be recognised for what it is... So joy can be joy and sorrow can be sorrow, with neither of them casting either light or shadow on the other.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“My faith tells me that God shared poverty, suffering, and death with human beings, which can only mean that such things are full of dignity and meaning, even though to believe this makes a great demand on one’s faith, and to act as if this were true in any way we understand is to be ridiculous. It is ridiculous also to act as if it were not absolutely and essentially true all the same.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“She said, “I don’t know why I come here. That’s a fact.” He shrugged. “Since you are here, maybe you could tell me a little about yourself?” She shook her head. “I don’t talk about that. I just been wondering lately why things happen the way they do.” “Oh!” he said. “Then I’m glad you have some time to spare. I’ve been wondering about that more or less my whole life.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“The best things that happen I'd never have thought to pray for. In a million years. The worst things just come like the weather.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



“You best keep to yourself, except you never can.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“If you think about a human face, it can be something you don't want to look at,so sad or so hard or so kind. It can be something you want to hide, because it pretty well shows where you've been and what you can expect. And anybody at all can see it, but you can''t. It just floats out there in front of you. It might as well be your soul, for all you can do to protect it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“I can't love you as much as I love you. I can't feel as happy as I am."..."Were you as sad as you were sad? As lonely as you were lonely? I wasn't." "Me neither. I would have died of it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“That sound of settling into the sheets and the covers has to be one of the best things in the world. Sleep is a mercy. You can feel it coming on, like being swept up in something.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“A letter makes ordinary things seem important.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



“She could see it surprised him, too, sometimes. He told her once when there was a storm a bird had flown into the house. He’d never seen one like it. The wind must have carried it in from some far-off place. He opened all the doors and windows, but it was so desperate to escape that for a while it couldn’t find a way out. “It left a blessing in the house,” he said. “The wildness of it. Bringing the wind inside.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“You’re right not to talk. It’s a sort of higher honesty, I think. Once you start talking, there’s no telling what you’ll say.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“She knew better than to waste that time. There isn't always someone who wants you singing to him or nibbling his ear or brushing his cheek with a dandelion blossom. Somebody who knows when you're being silly, and laughs and laughs. So long as he was little enough to carry, she could hardly bring herself to put him down.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“That's one good thing about the way life is, that no one can know you if you don't let them.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“I have worried that you might think I did not take your question as seriously as I should have. I realize I have always believed there is a great Providence that, so to speak, waits ahead of us. A father holds out his hands to a child who is learning to walk, and he comforts the child with words and draws it toward him, but he lets the child feel the risk it is taking, and lets it choose its own courage and the certainty of love and comfort when he reaches his father over—I was going to say choose it over safety, but there is no safety. And there is no choice, either, because it is in the nature of the child to walk. As it is to want the attention and encouragement of the father. And the promise of comfort. Which it is in the nature of the father to give. I feel it would be presumptuous of me to describe the ways of God. Those that are all we know of Him, when there is so much we don’t know. Though we are told to call Him Father. And I know it would be presumptuous to speak as if the suffering that people feel as they pass through the world were not grave enough to make your question much more powerful than any answer I could offer. My faith tells me that God shared poverty, suffering, and death with human beings, which can only mean that such things are full of dignity and meaning, even though to believe this makes a great demand on one’s faith, and to act as if this were true in any way we understand is to be ridiculous. It is ridiculous also to act as if it were not absolutely and essentially true all the same. Even though we are to do everything we can to put an end to poverty and suffering.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



“The night was windy, full of tree sounds. The moon was gone and there was rain, so fine that it was only a tingle on the skin.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“Thinking about hell doesn't help me live the way I should. I believe this is true for most people. And thinking that other people might go to hell just feels evil to me, like a very grave sin. So I don't want to encourage anyone else to think that way either.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“Any good thing is less good the more any human being lays claim to it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“Doll always said, Just be quiet. Whatever it is, just wait for it to be over. Everything ends sometime.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“But when folks are down to the one thing that keeps them alive, that one thing can be meanness. It makes you feel like you're there, you're doing something.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



“She thought, If I’m crazy, I may as well do what I feel like doing. No point being crazy if you have to worry all the time about what people are thinking anyway.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“Her name had the likeness of a name. She had the likeness of a woman, with hands but no face at all, since she never let herself see it. She had the likeness of a life, because she was all alone in it. She lived in the likeness of a house, with walls and a roof and a door that kept nothing in and nothing out.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“The old man always said we should attend to the things we have some hope of understanding, and eternity isn't one of them. Well, this world isn't one either.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“There was no way to abandon guilt, no decent way to disown it. All the tangles and knots of bitterness and desperation and fear had to be pitied. No, better, grace had to fall over them.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“She had told herself more than once not to call it loneliness, since it wasn’t any different from one year to the next, it was just how her body felt, like hungry or tired, except it was always there, always the same.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



“The world don't want you as long as there is any life in you at all.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“He said, "Family is a prayer. Wife is a prayer. Marriage is a prayer."

"Baptism is a prayer."

"No," he said. "Baptism is a what I'd call a fact.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“Well, he says, basically, that people have to suffer to really recognize grace when it comes. I”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“That strong, grassy smell, raw milk in a tin cup.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila


“He looked up at her. Kindness was something he didn't even know he wanted, and here it was.”
― Marilynne Robinson, quote from Lila



About the author

Marilynne Robinson
Born place: in Sandpoint, Idaho, The United States
Born date November 26, 1943
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