Quotes from The Mermaid Chair

Sue Monk Kidd ·  368 pages

Rating: (67.6K votes)


“All my life I've thought I needed someone to complete me, now I know I need to belong to myself.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“You can go other places, all right - you can live on the other side of the world, but you can't ever leave home”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“At forty-two, I had never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem--my chronic inability to astonish myself. I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they're being kind. I didn't fall. I dove.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“If you aren't giving people something to talk about, you've become too dull.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



“There's release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is. You come finally to the irreducible thing, and there's nothing left to do but pick it up and hold it. Then, at last, you can enter the severe mercy of acceptance.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they’re being kind. I didn’t fall – I dove.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“Yes, here I am returning, the woman who bore herself to the bottom and back. Who wanted to swim like dolphins, leaping waves and diving. Who wanted only to belong to herself.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“You can't stop your heart from loving, really -- it's like standing out there in the ocean yelling at the waves to stop.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“So few people know what they're capable of.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



“Gazing into the mirror, I saw myself as I was-a black silhouette in the room, a woman whose darkness had completely leaked through.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I felt amazed at the choosing one had to do, over and over a million times daily--choosing love, then choosing it again...how loving and being in love could be so different.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“Still everyone, including the abbot, had said that he was running away from his grief. They'd had no idea what they were talking about. He'd cradled his grief, almost to the point of loving it. For so long he refused to give it up, because leaving it behind was like leaving her.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“She didn't even know how dangerous the truth could be, all the tiny, shattering seeds it carried.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I can't explain that, except to say there's release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is. You come finally to the irreducible thing, and there's nothing left to do but pick it up and hold it. Then, at least, you can enter the severe mercy of acceptance.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



“With winter the feeling had deepened. I would see a neighbor running along the sidewalk in front of the house, training, I imagined, for a climb up Kilimanjaro. Or a friend at my book club giving a blow-by-blow of her bungee jump from a bridge in Australia. Or - and this was the worst of all - a TV show about some intrepid woman traveling alone in the blueness of Greece, and I'd be overcome by the little sparks that seemed to run beneath all that, the blood/sap/wine, aliveness, whatever it was. It had made me feel bereft over the immensity of the world, the extraordinary things people did with their lives - though, really, I didn't want to do any of those particular things. I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I marvel at how good I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers. So few people know what they're capable of. At forty-two I'd never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem - my chronic inability to astonish myself.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“How often do we do that, he wondered--look at someone and fail to see what's really there?”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“Soul. The word rebounded to me, and I wondered, as I often had, what it was exactly. People talked about it all the time, but did anybody actually know? Sometimes I'd pictured it like a pilot light burning inside a person--a drop of fire from the invisible inferno people called God. Or a squashy substance, like a piece of clay or dental mold, which collected the sum of a person's experiences--a million indentations of happiness, desperation, fear, all the small piercings of beauty we've ever known.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I could even feel how perishable all my moments really were, how all my life they had come to me begging to be lived, to be cherished even.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



“The translucence that comes when life hardens into a bead of such cruel perfection you see it with the purest clarity. Everything suddenly there--life as it truly is, enormous, appalling, devastating. You see the great sinkholes it makes in people and the harrowing lengths to which love will go to fill them.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“The mermaids came to me finally, in the pink hours of my life. They are my consolation. For them I dove with arms outstretched, my life streaming out behind me, a leap against all proprieties and expectations, but a leap that was somehow saving and necessary. How can I ever explain or account for that? I dove, and a pair of invisible arms simply appeared, unstinting arms, like the musculature of grace suddenly revealing itself. They caught me after I hit the water, bearing me not to the surface but to the bottom, and only then pulling me up.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“I have come here not to find answers, but to find a way to live in a world without any.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“...he felt God the same way arthritic monks felt rain coming in their joints. He felt only a hint of him.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“They say you can bear anything if you can tell a story about it.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



“There are things without explanation, moments when life will become arranged in such odd ways that you imagine a whole vocabulary of meaning inside them. The breakfast smell struck me like that.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“To be honest, I had been restless...The sensation would rise suddenly like freight from the ocean floor--the unexpected discontent of cows in their pasture. The constant chewing of all that cud.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“It's part of our overall Body Negation Program.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“What matters is giving over to what you love.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair


“You're looking for a reason," she said. "And that doesn't help. It doesn't change the present.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, quote from The Mermaid Chair



About the author

Sue Monk Kidd
Born place: in Sylvester, Georgia, The United States
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