Archive for September, 2009

A House in the Distance

Posted on 2009-09-29. Filed under: Quotes |

This is a poem by Henri Nouwen. As I am up many nights, this poem spoke to me:

Silence is night
and just as there are nights
with no moon and no stars
when you’re all alone
totally alone
when you’re cursed
when you become a nothing
which no one needs —
so too there are silences
which are threatening
because there is nothing except the silence.
Even if you open your ears
and your eyes
it keeps going on
without hope or relief.
Night with no light, no hope
I am alone
in my guilt
without forgiveness

without love.
Then, desperately, I go looking for friends
then I walk the streets searching for a body
a sign
a sound
finding nothing.
But there are also nights
with stars
with a full moon
with the light from a house in the distance
and silences which are peaceful and reflective
the noise of a sparrow
in a large empty church
when my heart wants to sing out with joy
when I feel that I’m not alone
when I’m expecting friends
or remember a couple of words
from a poem I read lately
when I lose myself in a Hail Mary
or the sombre voice of a psalm when I am me
and you are you
when we aren’t afraid of each other
when we leave all talk to the angel
who brought us the silence
and peace.


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Posted on 2009-09-19. Filed under: Thoughts |

I have begun reading a book by George MacDonald called Lilith.

Lilith by George MacDonald

If you’re not aware, George MacDonald was a mentor and inspiration to both C. S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, among others. I have read many quotes of his but I am finally reading one of his books. And it has me hooked!

While still early in the book, I read this exchange and I just love it:

“What right have you to treat me so, Mr. Raven?” I said with deep offence. “Am I, or am I not, a free agent?”

“A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer,” answered the raven.

“You have no right to make me do things against my will!”

“When you have a will, you will find that no one can.”

“You wrong me in the very essence of my individuality!” I persisted.

“If you were an individual I could not, therefore now I do not. You are but beginning to become an individual.”

This reminds me of a couple of quotes about individual freedom:

When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. – Dorothy Thompson

Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even to die free than to live slaves. – Frederick Douglass

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. – Frederick Douglass

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. – Goethe

Freedom lies in being bold. – Robert Frost

May we never lose our boldness! May we never forget that freedom is founded on the force of the fight! May we continue to extend freedom to others in order to ensure our own!

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Posted on 2009-09-17. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |

Bad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life he is leading, with the thoughts he is thinking, with the deeds he is doing; when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still, in spite of all, the child of God.

Phillips Brooks

This reminds me of Psalm 42:7  – “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls/All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”

Father, please use me for your purposes. Imbue my life with the calling you have for me and make something valuable from a mistake. Give me strength and stamina to fight towards my destiny. Give me wisdom and clarity to rule over what you have given me. Guide me in the instruction and tending of those you have entrusted to me. Let me leave a legacy for those who come after me. May they be greater than me. Thank you, Father. Amen

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