Category Archives: Life

begin again the story of your life

Da Capo
by Jane Hirshfield

Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.

Soon there is nothing left.
Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
in the weeds.

Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water, and herbs.

Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.

You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.


the simple act of putting something down

I’ve been writing in these notebooks for five years now. When I began, I thought they would be great to look back on several years later, the same way those old pictures of my parents looking younger fascinated my brothers and me. What has surprised me is that looking back two weeks is just as good. These little notebooks have revealed just how much we forget, even when it’s so easy to capture almost everything with our cameras.

I’ve told friends that, in a fire, the Moleskins would be the first (and perhaps only) non-living thing I would make sure I had in my arms on the way out the door. I keep them on our bookshelf, in random order, and reachable to the kids so they can pull them down whenever they want. And whenever they do, I think of that little red box of family pictures, and I’m reminded of just how valuable the simple act of putting something down can turn out to be.

—David Neibart, from “Documenting the Over-Documented”


habitable and humane

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

—David Orr, from “What is education for?”


still chugging along

There’s nothing romantic about the belching, wheezing bus I take every night from Times Square to my New Jersey hometown. The trip is bookended by grouches: a uniformed dispatcher at Gate 412, who yells at us weary commuters to stand in a straight line, and my own beloved kids, whose initial excitement to see me fades to a lament over the weird bread I packed in their lunches. But in between verbal assaults, as my chariot lurches through the Meadowlands at dusk, I sink into a plush seat with a good book and settle peacefully, gratefully into my life’s best approximation of alone time.

This contentment surprises me every time. Maybe I’m relieved that somebody else is in charge for a change; or maybe, between the battling bands of home and work, my bus strikes just the right note of white noise. It’s the only part of my day that’s completely predictable, when I’m one in a million and lost in a crowd, which is a delicious feeling for a mother of three. When the sun finally drops, and the dim overhead lights fail to illuminate my page, I glance out the window into the reflection of my own eyes. There you are, I think. Still chugging along.

—Elisabeth Egan


assumption

Every moment of faithful discipleship which was unseen by others is seen by God. Every interior struggle against temptation about which the world will never know is known by God. Every good intention that the world misunderstood is thoroughly understood by God. Every good that was invisible to the world is visible to God. The Assumption means that our full and final reward is with God.

—from the Mary the Queen bulletin on Assumption Sunday, 15 August 2010


where I want to be

My imagination about what I can still do with this life is endless… There’s a security in having had some longevity. Longevity? Makes me sound so old. But there is security in that. You learn as you get older. You learn to give yourself a break. I want to continue to celebrate where I am and not be apologetic. Whether I’m 43 or 60, I want to say, this is where I want to be in my life, because, hey, this is it.

—Lauren Graham, actor, from this magazine interview


a thousand ways

In New York that summer, especially at dusk, in the Village or in midtown or on the Upper West Side, walking in a crowd of people or looking up at all the lit windows of an office or apartment building, I could feel like there were a thousand ways my life could go.

—Melissa Bank, from The Wonder Spot