Quotes

Your life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened.
—Wayne Muller

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
—from “Anthem,” by Leonard Cohen

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Fair play to all those who dare to dream and don’t give up.
—Marketa Irglova

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.
—Terry Tempest Williams

The fearsome blessing of that hard time continues to work itself out in my life in the same way we’re told the universe is still hurtling through outer space under the impact of the great cosmic explosion…. I think grace sometimes explodes into our lives like that—sending our pain, terror, astonishment hurtling through inner space until by grace they become Orion, Cassiopeia, Polaris to give us our bearings, to bring us into something like full being at last.
—Frederick Buechner

… through the power that memory gives us of thinking, feeling, imagining our way back through time we can at long last finally finish with the past in the sense of removing its power to hurt us and other people and to stunt our growth as human beings.
—Frederick Buechner

When [our secrets] are sad and hurtful secrets, like my father’s death, we can in a way honor the hurt by letting ourselves feel it as we never let ourselves feel it before, and then, having felt it, by laying it aside; we can start to take care of ourselves the way we take care of people we love.
—Frederick Buechner

That man is truly good who knows his own dark places.
—Beowulf

Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
—Goethe

It’s like, at the end, there’s this surprise quiz: Am I proud of me? I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth what I paid?
—Richard Bach

It is important to tell our secrets too because … it makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about.
—Frederick Buechner

The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
—Kahlil Gibran

Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young.
—Charles Augustin Sainte–Beuve

We never know the wine we are becoming while we are being crushed like grapes.
—Henri Nouwen

At our most primitive we are storytellers and dancers.
—Anne Lamott

The least livable life is the one without coherence—nothing connects, nothing means anything. Stories make connections. They allow us to see our past, our present, and our future as interrelated and purposeful…. The stories we value most reassure us that life is worth the pain, that meaning is not an illusion, and that others share our experience with us.
—Daniel Taylor, The Healing Power of Stories

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.
—Japanese proverb

We wake, if ever we wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, and violence.
—Annie Dillard

Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.
—Eileen Mayhew

We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full.
—Marcel Proust

Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.
—Rumi

You see … a man like me, a cautious man, has his life all figured out according to a pattern, and then the pattern flies apart. You run around for quite a while trying to repair it, until one day you straighten up again with an armful of broken pieces, and you see that the world has gone on without you and you can never catch up with your old life, and you must begin all over again.
—Peter Matthiessen, At Play in the Fields of the Lord

We may tell stories about ourselves as well as about other people but not, for the most part, our real stories, not stories about what lies beneath all our other problems, which is the problem of being human, the problem of trying to hold fast somehow to Christ when much of the time, both in ourselves and in our world, it is as if Christ had never existed. Because all the peddlers of God’s word have that in common, I think: they tell what costs them least to tell and what will gain them most; and to tell the story of who we really are, and of the battle between light and dark, between belief and unbelief, between sin and grace that is waged within us all, costs plenty and may not gain us anything, we’re afraid, but an uneasy silence and a fishy stare.
—Frederick Buechner, A Room Called Remember

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love:
Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet