Anne Lamott · 275 pages
Rating: (38.8K votes)
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
“It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”
“It turned out this man worked for the Dalai Lama. And she said gently-that they believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.”
“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue”
“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”
“...because when people have seen you at their worst, you don't have to put on the mask as much.”
“My heart was broken and my head was just barely inhabitable”
“It is unearned love--the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. It's the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.”
“...most of the time, all you have is the moment, and the imperfect love of the people around you.”
“The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it...I would discover that it hadn't washed me away.”
“...music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way.”
“The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.”
“It's so awful, attacking your child. It's the worse thing I know, to shout loudly at this 50 lb. being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It's like bitch-slapping E.T.”
“[Her] work taught me that you could be all the traditional feminine things -- a mother, a lover, a listener, a nurturer -- and you could also be critically astute and radical and have a minority opinion that was profoundly moral.”
“Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”
“Who was it who said that forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a different past?”
“I don’t know why life isn’t constructed to be seamless and safe, why we make such glaring mistakes, things fall so short of our expectations, and our hearts get broken and out kids do scary things and our parents get old and don’t always remember to put pants on before they go out for a stroll. I don’t know why it’s not more like it is in the movies, why things don’t come out neatly and lessons can’t be learned when you’re in the mood for learning them, why love and grace often come in such motley packaging.”
“Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next day it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day at wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence.”
“I smiled back at her. I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.”
“I think that is why we stay close to our families, no matter how neurotic the members, how deeply annoying or dull- because when people have seen you at your worst, you don’t have to put on the mask as much.”
“There is nothing more touching to me then a family picture where everyone is trying to look his or her best, but you can see what a mess they all really are.”
“When you make friends with fear, it can’t rule you.”
“And my fear of failure has been lifelong and deep. If you are what you do- and I think my parents may have accidentally given me this idea- and you do poorly, what then? It’s over; you’re wiped out. All those prophecies you heard in the dark have come true, and people can see the real you, see what a schmendrick you are, what a fraud.”
“This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds.”
“Now she and I sit together in her room and eat chocolate, and I tell her that in a very long time when we both to go heaven, we should try to get chairs next to each other, close to the dessert table.”
“Without using the word, everyone started forgiving each other again. Just like that, from the no of all nothingness: you have a big tense mess and out of it comes some joy. It must be magic.”
“I know that sometimes these friends feel that they have been expelled from the ordinary world they lived in before and that they are now citizens of the Land of the Fucked.”
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
“For twenty years I have ached to go back home, when there was nobody there to whom I could return.”
“How shall I tell ye what it is, to feel the need of a place?" he said softly. "The need of snow beneath my shoon. The breath of the mountains, breathing their own breath in my nostrils as God gave breath to Adam. The scrape of rock under my hand, climbing, and the sight of the lichens on it, enduring in the sun and the wind."
His breath was gone and he breathed again, taking mine. His hands were linked behind mv head, holding me, face-to-face.
"If I am to live as a man, I must have a mountain," he said simply.”
“I can see that one can never pay back Gilsa for the fear that she will give again.”
“(The law) is like a single-bed blanket on a double bed and three folks in the bed and a cold night. There ain’t ever enough blanket to cover the case, no matter how much pulling and hauling, and somebody is always going to nigh catch pneumonia. Hell, the law is like the pants you bought last year for a growing boy, but it is always this year and the seams are popped and the shankbone’s to the breeze. The law is always too short and too tight for growing humankind.”
“Science fiction could now be made far more convincing by science fact.”
“Hope is like yeast, you know, rising under warmth.”
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