Tag Archives: survival

Come celebrate

…come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.                  —Lucille Clifton Some weeks it’s easier than others to write a post appropriate for a blog titled Defeat Despair. This has been one of the more difficult weeks. I had Clifton’s brief …

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Generous beyond all reason

“This is among the oldest, deepest, most primal truths: the facts of life may be, at times, unbearably painful. But the core, the bones of life are generous beyond all reason or belief. Those things that ought to kill us do not. This should be taken as encouragement to continue.” — Augusten Burroughs Perhaps the …

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As it always does

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out…as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed…” — Stephen King As I write this, Hurricane Florence is forecast to strike the Virginia and North Carolina coasts in a few days, and our beloved …

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No endings

“There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.” ― Hilary Mantel “…life is eternal And love is immortal And death is only a horizon Life is eternal As we move into the light And a horizon is nothing Save the limit of our …

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A little at a time

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.” — Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)  Even more than last …

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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 …

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You won’t be the same

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what …

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Spring always finds a way

“…spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.” — Charlotte Eriksson Probably there are few spots of ground in this hemisphere that have been more neglected in the past three years than our once-lovely azalea garden in the corner of our York …

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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 …

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Sufficient proof

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to …

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The day will arrive

“It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot…In a few moments the day will arrive…For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands.  It is now that I must make a choice.” – Max Lucado Many years ago my friend Gloria, who has been a psychotherapist for more than 40 years, told …

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In the noise and whip

…It is lonesome, yes.  For we are the last of the loud. Nevertheless, live. Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind. – Gwendolyn Brooks This post is for anyone who has ever felt alone in a crowd. It’s for anyone who speaks in a voice trembling with grief or rage, while hearing …

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I learn by going

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.    I learn by going where I have to go. —  Theodore Roethke I’ve never been fond of awakening from a nice dreamy sleep, and getting up (especially on cold, dark mornings) is not something I do well. I envy and wonder at Jeff’s ability to get up very early, usually …

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Embracing winter

“Enduring winter is only a start– embracing winter is what you should strive for.  Winter gives a sense of purpose and saves one from a life of hedonistic self-gratification, lying around on a palm-shaded patio nibbling ladyfingers and posting selfies on Facebook.  You have promises to keep.  Miles to go before you sleep.  Also, a …

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Participate relentlessly

“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” – Elizabeth Gilbert Two years ago today we got the devastatingly bad news nobody ever wants to get, and despite some initial hope that it might not be as fearful as it seemed at first, the prognosis only got worse and worse in …

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People together

“Adversity not only draws people together, but brings forth that beautiful inward friendship.” – Soren Kierkegaard Working together under difficult circumstances tends to strip away the vacuous and trivial concerns that we are too often preoccupied with, especially in affluent societies.  None of us want adversity or crisis, nor do most of us wish it …

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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.  …

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As if I was not afraid

“There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” — Theodore Roosevelt “Make believe you’re brave And the trick will take you far. You may be as brave …

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No way to say no

And it’s going to be a day There is really no way to say no to the morning Yes it’s going to be a day There is really nothing left to say But come on morning    — Dan Fogelberg This verse is from  “To the Morning,” the first Dan Fogelberg song I ever loved, recorded …

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Beautiful and terrible

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ― Frederick Buechner That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? It might seem contradictory to affirm that terrible things will happen, yet advise against fear.  But I think there is a difference between feeling fear occasionally (or even often) versus being afraid.  …

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Carried on great winds

“Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the time I am being carried on great winds across the sky.”― Ojibwe dream song No matter how often I remind myself that despondency always passes, I have a remarkably hard time being the least bit optimistic when I am feeling low.  I can know and remember …

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Grace will lead

“Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”— John Newton Two weeks ago today, I was able to worship with our church family for the first time in a month.  Because Matt still had fluid on his lungs and …

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A curious paradox

“There is a curious paradox that no one can explain. Who understands the secret of the reaping of the grain? Who understands why Spring is born out of Winter’s laboring pain, or why we must all die a bit before we grow again.” — Tom Jones (playwright) from The Fantasticks Today I send virtual flowers …

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Success is stumbling

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ― Winston Churchill One of my favorite places in California is the haunting Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee.  It’s beautiful country, but there’s an eerie stillness that lingers in memory of the tragic history of the Donner Party, for whom the park …

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Out of suffering

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Kahlil Gibran This photo is rather odd, but it seems fitting as a symbol for where Jeff is now, in a place of past nightmares and trauma, somehow surviving (thus far) life-threatening complications and tremendous pain, holding on …

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