Tag Archives: consolation

But you knew

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.”― …

Continue reading

Wonders of everyday life

“Remember, looking at bad news doesn’t mean good news isn’t happening. It’s happening everywhere. It’s happening right now. Around the world. In hospitals, at weddings, in schools and offices and maternity wards, at airport arrival gates, in bedrooms, in inboxes, out in the street, in the kind smile of a stranger. A billion unseen wonders …

Continue reading

Linger in the beautiful

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.” — Okakura Kakuzō Exactly five years ago tomorrow, I published the …

Continue reading

Permanence and change

“October is a symphony of permanence and change.” ― B. W. Overstreet It’s comforting that some things remain the same. As the seasons remind us, there is a reassuring pattern in nature that helps us stay on track when everything around us seems to be in meltdown. The changes in my personal world, and in the …

Continue reading

A happy thought

“It was a happy thought to bring  To the dark season’s frost and rime  This painted memory of spring,  This dream of summertime.” – John Greenleaf Whittier Last Thursday, the evening before Jeff’s burial ceremony at Arlington, I opened our front door to family arriving from out of town and found a package on my doorstep. It …

Continue reading

A pretty good diet

“I am living on hope and faith…a pretty good diet when the mind will receive them.” — Edwin Arlington Robinson It’s interesting that a poet of Robinson’s stature, who penned the devastatingly powerful “Richard Cory,” would describe himself as living on hope and faith. Such somber work does not seem consistent with what we think …

Continue reading

Close at hand

“Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away.” ― Yann Martel Last summer I bought a small hibiscus plant at a clearance price, and brought it home to our deck. It thrived and bloomed profusely, until I …

Continue reading

A never-tiring affection

“One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death. Very brief is the time in which we can help them, in which their happiness or misery is decided. Be it ours to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows by the balm …

Continue reading

A willingness to wander

“The thing about healing, as opposed to curing, is that it is relational. It takes time. It is inefficient, like a meandering river. Rarely does healing follow a straight or well-lit path. Rarely does it conform to our expectations or resolve in a timely manner. Walking with someone through grief…requires patience, presence, and a willingness …

Continue reading

The one who comes in

“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.” — Grace Pulpit I’ve written before about how isolating trouble can be. To put it bluntly, most people would rather not think about illness, disability or death unless they can’t avoid it. Those who are dealing with such issues, often …

Continue reading

How infinitely rich

“I think these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes around worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” — Isak Dinesen Perhaps the understanding Dinesen describes is one of the greatest gifts to come …

Continue reading

More present

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery At times the pain of missing Jeff stabs me with a grief so severe and sudden that I wonder how I will survive without him. More often, though, I feel …

Continue reading

Through the rain

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be. —George Matheson Sometimes a poem, song, quote or Bible verse stored in my memory will become more relevant, and therefore more appreciated, …

Continue reading

The strength

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” —Helen Keller I’m not exactly sure how we’ve gotten through the past three weeks, but somehow we have. Some days are much worse than others, but all of them bring small reasons to be grateful. I can acknowledge that in my …

Continue reading

The arabesques

The arabesques a hope can do…       the dances dreams can make… the patterned pain a mind may shape…      before a heart will break — Joan Walsh Anglund Despite the risk of heartbreak, hope is a better way to live. I really believe that. I am so thankful you are with us …

Continue reading

Memory of the heart

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart; therefore forget not to say often, I have all I ever enjoyed.” — Lydia Child It’s not good to live in the past or long for bygone times. Ecclesiastes 7:10 reminds us “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such …

Continue reading

In the woods

The bee is not afraid of me, I know the butterfly; The pretty people in the woods Receive me cordially. The brooks laugh louder when I come, The breezes madder play. Wherefore, mine eyes, thy silver mists? Wherefore, O summer’s day? — Emily Dickinson I wasn’t all that fond of Emily Dickinson’s poems when I …

Continue reading

Such a secret place

“I did not know what to say to him. I felt awkward and blundering. I did not know how I could reach him, where I could overtake him and go on hand in hand with him once more. It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Whether or not one is alone, …

Continue reading

A bridge with people

“When I stopped trying to block my sadness and let it move me instead, it led me to a bridge with people on the other side. Every one of them knew sorrow. Some of them even knew how to bear it as an ordinary feature of being human instead of some avoidable curse. Watching them …

Continue reading

Solaced and refreshed

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” ― Martin Luther I connect with a lot of things Martin Luther said, but none more than this quote.  There is nothing quite like music to soothe, heal, cheer, console or bring cathartic tears.  Music …

Continue reading

Unfailing love

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” — Psalm 33:5 One year ago today,  I wrote of my joy in seeing Dr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, and having a new grandson, and all the ways we had been blessed with gifts of comfort and consolation amid all the sorrows.  …

Continue reading

Museums, formed from the heart

“In poetically well built museums, formed from the heart’s compulsions, we are consoled not by finding in them old objects that we love, but by losing all sense of Time.”— Orhan Pamuk On a recent day while Matt was at camp, Jeff took a day off from work and we went to the National Gallery …

Continue reading

The meaning of immortality

“The wise understand the meaning of immortality, and do not seek the never-changing in the transient.” — Upanishads No small part of my sorrow in life comes from my abiding difficulty in accepting that nothing on this earth will last forever.  This reluctance to let go encompasses the entire spectrum of my life, from a …

Continue reading

All now mysterious shall be bright

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake To guide the future, as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below. —  Katharina von Schlegel …

Continue reading

The beautiful stillness

“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.” ― Paul Auster Even when life is the craziest and most chaotic, I always read myself to sleep …

Continue reading