We hold it against you that you survived. People better than you are dead, but you still punch the clock. Your body has wizened but has not bled its substance out on the killing floor or flatlined in intensive care or vanished after school or stepped off the ledge in despair. Of all those you started with, only you are still around; only you have not been listed with the defeated and the drowned. So how could you ever win our respect?-- you, who had the sense to duck, you, with your strength almost intact and all your good luck.
"Hate does that. Burns off everything but itself, so whatever your grievance is, your face looks just like your enemy’s."
- Love, Toni Morrison
Hate is such a hard emotion. It certainly comes naturally to us. We don’t usually have to work very hard to hate others. But it’s also such a destructive emotion. You do damage to your own soul when you hate others. The only way to combat hate is to remember how God so freely loved us while we were his enemies and then give that same love to others- even those who are against you.
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me… .
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised. Amen.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Germany/1906–1945)
I don’t believe we’re responsible for who we attract, but who we choose to pursue a relationship with is a reflection of how we see ourselves. Feeling worthy of an equal partnership doesn’t come naturally to some of us. Certainly not for me. I can, however, feel the change slowly and surely. As I discover my private power, I’m no longer content with settling in any area of my life: not for a man, a job, or a friend.
There are so many things about the above article that I could have written myself. I’m not referring to the part where she says that she feels the need to help men with problems because she’s a Pisces. I know that I felt that way because I’m just naturally a nurturer. I was attracted to the man with the most problems because I wanted to help him help himself.
But I do identify with her desire to help her man work through his childhood pain and see him thrive. I get her anxiety over how entrenched in his ways he is despite how they are hurting him. I empathize with her feeling unworthy of equal partnership.
As it turns out you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to change. You can’t want it more than them. In the end their problems become your problems, the relationship is unbalanced and unhealthy, and you are left unhappy.
I chose a road of passion and pain.
Sacrificed too much and waited in vain.
-Lauryn Hill, I Used to Love Him
Each woman will deal with this differently. Some will choose to be strong and stay while still finding a way to protect themselves. Some women will choose to be strong and leave, deciding that the only way to protect themselves is to end it altogether. Either way, there will probably need to be distance of some kind created whether it’s physical, emotional or both.
In the end, freedom is a beautiful and God-given gift.
Lauryn says it best:
Father you saved me and showed me that life
Was much more than being some foolish man’s wife
Showed me that love was respect and devotion
Greater than planets deeper than oceans
My soul was weary but now it’s replenished
Content because that part of my life is finished
I would not wish
Any companion in the world but you."
— Miranda in The Tempest by Shakespeare, Act 3, scene 1
— Francois De La Rochefoucauld
In truth we never talk about a book unto itself; a whole set of books always enters the discussion through the portal of a single title, which serves as a temporary symbol for a complete conception of culture. In every such discussion, our inner libraries — built within us over the years and housing all our secret books — come into contact with the inner libraries of others, potentially provoking all manner of friction and conflict.
For we are more than simple shelters for our inner libraries; we are the sum of these accumulated books. Little by little, these books have made us who we are, and they cannot be separated from us without causing us suffering."
— Pierre Bayard, Professor of French Literature at the University of Paris
"I turned to share the transport…" Oh, how awful is that moment when you want to share something with someone you love; something that you normally would have told only them or at least them first only to realize that you can no longer share anything with them. Maybe they have passed away like Wordsworth’s daughter or maybe they are just gone from your life but that moment seems to come more than once and brings deep grief for those who experience it. Wordsworth says, "how could I forget thee? Through what power…" It would be a welcome relief to forget sometimes but, in a way, there is also beauty in the remembering, painful though it may be.This is an important poem both for its intense emotion and lyrical power.
Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
— Surprised by Oxford, Carolyn Weber
I can watch my man from the porch. In the evening mostly, but sunrise too, when I need to see his shoulders collared with seafoam. There used to be white wicker chairs out here where pretty women drank iced tea with a drop of Jack Daniel’s or Cutty Sark in it. Nothing left now, so I sit on the steps or lean my elbows on the railings. If I’m real still and listening carefully I can hear his voice. You’d think with all that strength, he’d be a bass. But, no. My man is a tenor."
— A beautiful quote by Toni Morisson in her novel, Love.