Monday, 1 June 2015

And so to bed - A Retrospective

Every evening, I always end the day by putting on Facebook some quotes. I try and pick something which is not just a "one liner", which is either something to ponder, or some descriptive text to evoke wonder. Here is a selection with a few comments.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from C.S. Lewis:

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

I love Lewis' writing. At times I don't always agree with him. But this quote cuts though the heart of who we are us human beings. Do we just live for the creature comforts? Or is life worth more than that? I think life would be very shallow and hedonistic if we just lived for comfort.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Jostein Gaarder:

Our lives are part of a unique adventure... Nevertheless, most of us think the world is 'normal' and are constantly hunting for something abnormal--like angels or Martians. But that is just because we don't realize the world is a mystery. As for myself, I felt completely different. I saw the world as an amazing dream. I was hunting for some kind of explanation of how everything fits together.

Chesterton describes in "Manalive", how his protagonist Innocent Smith travels around the world only to return with renewed appreciation for his house and family. Sometimes the grass is greener where we are, and we don't need legal highs to appreciate being swept away with wonder.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Jaclyn Moriarty:

There was something in the moonlight tonight. It was stroking the stonework and spires, leaning into cracks between the cobblestones, caressing the stained-glass windows. She felt her heart lift with magic.

Light and dark, shadows - these are always magic, wonderful. Someone the other day wondered why we floodlit our old granite Parish Churches. Floodlit granite on a dark night is also magical.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from George Orwell, Animal Farm:

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. It was not that these creatures did not work, after their fashion. There was, as Squealer was never tired of explaining, endless work in the supervision and organisation of the farm. Much of this work was of a kind that the other animals were too ignorant to understand.

Kevin Keen has been telling Chief Officers and administrators to show that they deserve the high sums they get paid. This prompted this telling passage!

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from J.B. Priestley:

I am not as clumsy with my hands as many bookish men I know, but I have never had any training or practice in handicrafts, and apart from sawing and splitting logs and knocking a nail in here and there, I have had little to do with wood. Yet I never go where wood is being worked, never stand near a joiner, carpenter or cabinet-maker, without feeling at least a tickle of delight. To handle newly-planed wood, even to look at it or smell it, is to receive a message that life can still be in good heart.

Is it because wood, no matter how chopped and trimmed and planed, somehow remains alive? I put my hand on the desk on which I am writing now, and it is almost as if my palm fell on the shoulder of a brother. Into this patient material have passed rain and sun, steely mornings in March, the glow of October: it has lived as some secret part of us still lives.

Another thought provoking piece from Priestly. I've visited the wood carvers club over here, and seen the wood being worked. There's something very personal, very primal, about it, and the smell of wood shavings makes you feel in touch with nature.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Martin Buber:

You do not attain to knowledge by remaining on the shore and watching the foaming waves, you must make the venture and cast yourself in, you must swim, alert and with all your force, even if a moment comes when you think you are losing consciousness; in this way, and in no other, do you reach anthropological insight.

Sometimes being on the sidelines, sitting on the hedge, observing from afar, is not enough. You must participate.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Simcha Bunim:

Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: "For my sake was the world created." But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: "I am but dust and ashes."

I love this one. It reminds me of C.S. Lewis in the Narnia books when Aslan says: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve," said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Rob Bignell:

When we sit down to write, we psychically enter a sanctuary. This safe haven is our own personal space where we can say whatever is on our mind, where we can talk about what matters most to us, where we can imagine the kind of world that we would like to live.

No comments: