Sunday, April 09, 2017

Marilynne Robinson: Ordinary Sunday

“Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“There's so much to be grateful for, words are poor things.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Home

“This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing -- the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one's hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discovery.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“There is so little to remember of anyone - an anecdote, a conversation at a table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming habitual fondness not having meant to keep us waiting long.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“She knew that was not an honest prayer, and she did not linger over it. The right prayer would have been, Lord . . . I am miserable and bitter at heart, and old fears are rising up in me so that everything I do makes everything worse.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Home

“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I've developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from, except, of course, that some very tedious gentlemen have written books.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable - which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I am grateful for all those dark years, even though in retrospect they seem like a long, bitter prayer that was answered finally.”
― Marilynne Robinson

“I wish I could leave you certain of the images in my mind, because they are so beautiful that I hate to think they will be extinguished when I am. Well, but again, this life has its own mortal loveliness. And memory is not strictly mortal in its nature, either. It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment, when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing. I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them. You simply say, "Here are the perimeters of our attention. If you prowl around under the windows till the crickets go silent, we will pull the shades. If you wish us to suffer your envious curiosity, you must permit us not to notice it." Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient”
― Marilynne Robinson

“It's not a man's working hours that is important, it is how he spends his leisure time.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Grace has a grand laughter in it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“It seems to me people tend to forget that we are to love our enemies, not to satisfy some standard of righteousness but because God their Father loves them.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I hated waiting. If I had one particular complaint, it was that my life seemed composed entirely of expectation. I expected — an arrival, an explanation, an apology. There had never been one, a fact I could have accepted, were it not true that, just when I had got used to the limits and dimensions of one moment, I was expelled into the next and made to wonder again if any shapes hid in its shadows.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world's mortal insufficiency to us.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“A man can know his father, or his son, and there might still be nothing between them but loyalty and love and mutual incomprehension.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within light...It seems to me to be a metaphor for the human soul, the singular light within that great general light of existence.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I don't know exactly what covetous is, but in my experience it is not so much desiring someone else's virtue or happiness as rejecting it, taking offense at the beauty of it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“People talk about how wonderful the world seems to children, and that's true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Memory is the sense of loss, and loss pulls us after it.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

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