“I wonder how you're supposed to know the exact moment when there's no more hope.”
“It's not words, so much, just my mind going blank and thoughts reaching up up up, me wishing I could climb through the ceiling and over the stars until I can find God, really see God, and know once and for all that everything I've believed my whole life is true, and real. Or, not even everything. Not even half. Just the part about someone or something bigger than us who doesn't lose track. I want to believe the stories, that there really is someone who would search the whole mountainside just to find that one lost thing that he loves, and bring it home.”
“A know a place called New Beginnings, but I don't think it works quite like that. You can't just erase everything that came before.”
“It's like a Venn diagram of tragedy.”
“We'd need a miracle," he says. "A real one. Do you think those happen anymore?”
“It makes me think of Lazarus. He must have had those shadows after his miracle. You don't spend time in the tomb without it changing you, and everyone who was waiting for you to come out.”
“Mom always says that doubt is just another way of expressing faith.”
“The Lord doesn't give a person more than he knows they can bear.”
“Right now I would love to have a personal message from God. I want to believe the way I used to, when my dad or mom or sometimes both of them would pray with me at night and I would picture God listening, kind-eyed and bearded. He was real to me, as real as my own parents. I don't know when God stopped being someone I saw as my true friend, and turned into something I'm mostly confused about.”
“Now I think miracles are things that happen in stained glass, and on dusty Jerusalem roads thousands of years ago. Not here, not to us. Not when we need them.”
“Mom always says that doubt is just another way of expressing faith...
This is different than doubt. This is something I've never felt before, a total absence of whatever it is that's made me who I am, on the inside, all my life.”
“Right now it's like we're three islands, and nothing but oceans between us.”
“I was wondering if my life, the life in which I had a son and a beautiful, young girlfriend, could exist outside of the hospital. Or was the hospital its container? Was I like honey thinking it's a small bear, not realizing the bear is just the shape of its bottle?”
“Among believers, a supernatural authority is an ideal guarantor of cooperation, because supernatural beings can be omniscient and omnipotent, guaranteeing maximal rewards for cooperativeness and maximal punishments for uncooperativeness. As David Sloan Wilson has argued, religion may be a device that evolved through cultural evolution to enable cooperation in large groups. The idea that respect for God and being a good cooperator are related is not new, of course. Believers have long been, and continue to be, wary of people who are not “God-fearing.” From”
“Students who were harder on themselves for procrastinating on their first exam were more likely to procrastinate on later exams than students who forgave themselves. The harder they were on themselves about procrastinating the first time, the longer they procrastinated for the next exam! Forgiveness—not guilt—helped them get back on track.”
“Once I had found the courage to tell Rebecca about the children in my head, it wasn't so hard in the coming months to tell Roberta.
On the train from Huddersfield one day in May I made a roll call of the usual suspects: Baby Alice; Alice 2, who was two years old and liked to suck sticky lollipops; Billy; Samuel; Shirley; Kato; and the enigmatic Eliza. There was boy I would grow particularly fond of named limbo, who was ten, but like Eliza he was still forming. There were others without names or specific behaviour traits. I didn't want to confuse the issue with this crowd of 'others' and just counted off the major players with their names, ages and personalities, which Roberta scribbled down on a pad. Then she looked slightly embarrassed. 'You know, I've met Billy on a few occasions, and Samuel once too,' she said. 'You're joking.' I felt betrayed. 'Why didn't you tell me?' 'I wanted it to come from you, Alice, when you were ready.' For some reason I pulled up my sleeves and showed he my arms. 'That's Kato,' I said, 'or Shirley.' She looked a bit pale as she studied the scars. I had feeling she didn't know what to say. The problem with counsellors is that they are trained to listen, not to give advice or diagnosis. We sat there with my arms extended over the void between us like evidence in court, then I pushed down my sleeves again. 'I'm so sorry, Alice,' she said finally and I shrugged. 'It's not your fault, is it?' Now she shrugged, and we were quiet once more.”
“One evening he was in his room, his brow pressing hard against the pane, looking, without seeing them, at the chestnut trees in the park, which had lost much of their russet-coloured foliage. A heavy mist obscured the distance, and the night was falling grey rather than black, stepping cautiously with its velvet feet upon the tops of the trees. A great swan plunged and replunged amorously its neck and shoulders into the smoking water of the river, and its whiteness made it show in the darkness like a great star of snow. It was the single living being that somewhat enlivened the lonely landscape.”
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