He looked above the stand to the framed sign, patiently hand-lettered and illumined with fading watercolors.
Let the peace of this place surround you as you sit or kneel quietly.Let the hurry and worry of your life fall away. You are God’s child.He loves you and cares for you, and is here with you now and always.Speak to Him thoughtfully, give yourself time for Him to bring things to mind.
Ever read Louis L’Amour?
That’s my main man.Listen to this.Ernie grabbed a book off the shelf, thumbed through the pages, and adjusted his glasses.
“We are, finally, all wanderers in search of knowledge.Most of us hold the dream of becoming something better than we are, something larger, richer, in some way more important to the world and ourselves.Too often the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become.”
The average view of the Christian life Oswald Chambers had said is that it means deliverance from trouble.Father Tim agreed with Chambers that, in fact, it means deliverance in trouble.That alone and nothing more, and nothing more required.But the child of God had to face the strain before the strength could be provided.
When I heard you had a need, I asked Him about it at once, and He said, ‘Ella Jean’ – the Lord always uses my middle name – ‘march over there and ask for that job, they need you.’
He doesn’t speak to me in an audible voice.
He puts it in my mind, you might say.As you well know, Father, you have to be quiet before the Lord and keep your trap shut for Him to get a word in edgewise, that’s my experience.
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin, Chapter 11:
XI.14The schoolboy learns quickly to divide his day into periods which he does or does not enjoy.He lives a mixed day, but an ordered one; and even with his youthfully expansive sense of time he need not look to far ahead without perceiving some future pleasure.But adults are often deprived of this solace.[We] might do better by trying to regularize a few pleasant experiences during the day.Individual activities aside, the mere act of planning one’s day with this goal in mind will be an important personal victory.
XI.15The happy individual is able to renew daily and with full consciousness all the basic expressions of human identity:work, love, communication, play and rest.
XI.18Those who labor for bread or money alone are condemned to their reward.
XI.22We struggle with, agonize over and bluster heroically about the great questions of life when the answers to most of these lie hidden in our attitude toward the thousand minor details of each day.
XI.23Regretting wasted time is itself a waste of time, an unconscious strategy of evasion.
Food for thought from “Out to Canaan” by Jan Karon:
It came to him that Patrick Henry Reardon had indirectly spoken of something like this.He had copied it into his sermon notebook only days ago.
“Suppose for a moment,” Reardon had said, “that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks.Which o our limbs and faculties would be left?Would I still have my hands and my mind?And what about loved ones?If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?”
“I’ll have the usual,” said Father Tim.
Mule looked approving.“That’s what I need to do – figure out one thing and stick with it.Same thing every morning, and you don’t have to mess with it again.”
Ah, well.He could muddle on about the fire, or he could look at what had risen from the ashes.Wasn’t that the gist of life, after all, making the everyday choice between fire and phoenix?
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin, Chapters 9 and 10:
IX.5 Skilled generals never drive their enemies to desperate action; they advance vigorously but always give their antagonists an opportunity for retreat, surrender or negotiation.
IX.30 Anyone who applies himself regularly, lengthily and energetically to a single project is certain, no matter what else happens, to encounter days of profound delight or unprecedented inspiration.
X.1 Patience is no more than generosity with time.
X.3 [Trollope and Flaubert] understood that no artistic necessity – not technique, elegance, genius itself – is more basic or inalienable that regular and expansive time.
X.18 . . . at its best, a work of art is like a perpetual motion machine, or a beam of light caught forever in a palace of mirrors.
X.19 The simplest form of creative expression available to most of us is the letter. Copies of our own letters are useful for our records and memories. In friendship, the letter is not only a message but a gift, a physical symbol of esteem and affection.
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin, Chapter 8
VIII.2The act of concentrating on a given subject is, conversely, the act of temporarily forgetting everything else.
VIII.4Obedience is the necessary context for education and indeed for survival; moreover, it is the primal matter or substructure of what will later be self-control.
VIII.6We generally feel that we must choose between coddling and suppressing teenagers, when instead our proper function is to challenge them.
VIII.10Every teacher, whether he knows it or not, teaches three things at once:the subject under investigation, the art of investigation and the art of teaching.
VIII.14The mockery of established value and the rebellion against it are essential experiences of youth.In this high form of play, we learn our weaknesses through initiatives of omnipotence, our communality through assertions of uniqueness, our loneliness through charades of independence.Good societies make demands on their young, yet allow them freedom for frivolity . . .
VIII.15The accusation that contemporary society is afflicted with a “cult of youth” is only partly true.What we see today is more a middle-aged usurpation of youth, an attempt by the middle-agers to commandeer, through nostalgia fads, freakish styles, hairblowers, skin-oils and inarticulate slang, the supposedly happy condition of youth.
VIII.16I and others like me live in a kind of eternal middle age, and no wonder; for no matter where we are in age, we are always in the middle of time, and must weigh our future equally with our past.
VIII.18It was not until later that I realized that this refusal, this anger, was the real crux of aging:that the pain of growing old lies specifically in the fact that part of us does not grow old.
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin, chapter 7:
VII.9Chess, which exists predominantly in two dimensions, is one of the world’s most difficult games.Three-dimensional chess is an invitation to insanity.But human relationships, even of the simplest order, are like a kind of four-dimensional chess, a game whose pieces and positions change subtly and inexorably between moves, whose players stare dumbly while their powerful positions deteriorate into hopeless predicaments and while improbable combinations suddenly become inevitable.To make matters worse, some games are open to any number of players, and all sides are expected to win.
VII.13Individuals who have, from one cause of another, flirted with genuine self-knowledge, are aware of the curious impulse to become their own opposites.And those who one way or another achieve these reversals, expecting strange new experiences, are often surprised by the native and intimate familiarity of the forms they have assumed.
VII.14Learn your own faults and vices; but do not assume that all of them should be eradicated.Sometimes, like beasts serving a greater master, they provide necessary balance and thus deserve indulgence; sometimes they are the indivisible shadows of virtues themselves.
VII.15Because time is continuous and homogeneous, every action or emotion has meaning and value of its own, irrespective of cause, purpose or result.Love, admiration and reverence have positive meaning, even when it turns out that their object does not deserve them.Care, patience and courage have positive meaning, even when the project fails.Conversely anger, scorn and disgust, no matter how justifiable, lower us, make us less; and boredom is not only a judgment about experience but a sin against ourselves.
VII.16The mind projects its joys and woes so powerfully onto the face of time that changes in mood can all but create new temporal worlds.The negative or painful emotions – guilt, anger, envy, greed, etc. – usually involve a fragmentation of time, a sense of isolation in the present or fixation on some aspect of the past or future.The sunny emotions – admiration, generosity, love, courage, etc. – foster a sense of continuity, of time extended and shared.
VII.17The best we can do, I think, is to consult broader purposes, taking time off every few days to review our position in life, evaluating the present in terms of past and future, memories and plans, and determining the ways in which recent and present choices may suggest larger patterns.In so doing, we rise temporarily above the ordinary flow of time and reacquaint ourselves with the larger pattern of forces which is our enduring identity.
VII.20Every time we postpone some necessary event, we do so with the implication that present time is more important than future time.Seen more extensively, habitual delays can clutter our lives, leave us in the annoying position of always having to do yesterday’s chores.disrespect for the future is a subtly poisonous disrespect for self, and forces us, paradoxically enough, to live in the past.
VII.24You may cure yourself of a depression by forcing yourself to perform, in rapid order and with excruciating concentration, half a dozen or so unpleasant chores, especially if they have long been postponed.This is a kind of homeopathic purgative, a treatment of like with like.
VII.26[re:a digital watch]Looking at them we see a particular time, divorced from its context in the broader picture of the day.The round faces of the older watches and clocks speak to us not only of the present but also of the past and the future – when we woke, when we will work or play or rest, where we have been, where we wish to be or must be.Intricately and persistently they remind us of our existence in a continuum, which includes not only the social and natural world but also our own extending identity in time.