Words and thoughts that have inspired me to write, to think deeper, or to be a better, more compassionate person….

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
– Henry David Thoreau

(I wrote my junior theme about Thoreau, and would have gotten a grade of 100 on the paper. But because it was one day late, I ended up with a 95 – a perfect paper minus 5 points for being late.  I really related to Thoreau.)

“For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
– Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come trough you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
– Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet

The Delinquent

I know his secret,
His weighty secret.
How, Lord, can it be carried by this big boy with the childish
face grown old too soon?

I wanted him to tell it to me,
To give it to me to bear with him.
For long months now I have been stretching my hand towards
this young, crushed brother.
Eagerly he seizes that hand, caresses it, kisses it . . . but over the
gulf that separates us.
When I want gently to draw him closer, he backs away, for in
his other hand he carries his secret, too heavy for him to hand to me.

Lord, he hurts me.
I look at him from a distance, and cannot get near him.
He looks at me and cannot come closer.

We both suffer.
He suffers the more, and I can hardly bear it, for my love is too
limited, Lord; each time that I try to span his solitude, my
bridge is too short and does not touch his shore.

And I see him, on the edge of his suffering, hesitating, getting set,
but drawing back again in desperation, for the distance is
too great and the burden is too heavy.

Yesterday, Lord, he leaned towards me, said a word – then took
it back; his whole body quivered with the weight of the
secret which approached his lips but rolled back again to
the depths of his solitude.

He did not cry, but I wiped off the drops of perspiration beading
his forehead.

I cannot take his burden from him; he must give it to me.
I see it, and I cannot grasp it.
You do not want me to take it, Lord, since he does not want that.
I have no right to violate his suffering.

I am thinking tonight, Lord, of all the isolated ones,
Of all those who are alone, terribly alone,
Because they have never let go and been carried by anyone,
Because they have never given themselves to you, Lord.
Those who know something that others will never know;
Those who suffer from a sore that no one can ever tend;
Those who bleed from a wound that no one will ever heal;
Those who are scarred by a terrible blow that no one will ever suspect;
Those who have, locked in the terrifying silence of their hearts, a
harvest of humiliations, despairs, hatreds,
Those who have hidden a mortal sin – cold sepulchres behind cheerful facades.

The solitude of man frightens me, Lord;
Every man is alone, since he is unique,
And that solitude is sacred; he alone can break through it, confide and share confidences.
He alone can pass from solitude to communion.
And you want that communion, Lord.  You want us to be united with one another,

In spite of the deep gulf that we have dug between us by sin,
You want us to be united as your Father and you are united.

Lord, that boy hurts me, as do all isolated ones;
Grant that I may love them enough to break through their isolation.
Grant that I may pass through the world with all doors open,
My house entirely empty, available, welcoming.
Help me to withdraw as to embarrass no one,
That others may come in without asking,
That they may deposit their burdens without being seen.
And I’ll come, silently, to get them by night
And you, Lord, will help me to bear them.
– Michel Quoist from Prayers

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“If we could see the world through the eyes of a child, there would be more laughter, there would be more smiles. If we could just go back, and get another turn, what a difference we could make by unlearning what we’ve learned.”
– EG Kight

“Thank you, for not being afraid to touch me.”
– Roy Stephens, my father, during his illness

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
– Mother Teresa

“If you build it, they will come.” (adapted)
– from Field of Dreams

“What’s true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not.”
– from What Dreams May Come

“Sometimes when you lose, you win.”
– from What Dreams May Come

“What some folks call impossible, is just stuff they haven’t seen before.”
– from What Dreams May Come

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love
for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day.
And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

-Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation
Published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved











All material contained within this site is ©2014-2020 Sunny Stephens, with the exception of the cited quotes and dictionary definitions. No part of this site may be printed, copied or otherwise reproduced without written consent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s