The present is like a doomed princess, elegant and inexpressibly beautiful.
We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later. . . . Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.
Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.
Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that he expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people — lots of people — pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?
My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-five now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.
There is a map of the universe in the lines that time draws on these old walls.
The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary. “I don’t intend to publish it. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God.” “Don’t you think God knows the facts?” Bethe asked. “Yes,” said Szilard. “He knows the facts, but he does not know this version of the facts.”
A hundred times I have thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: It is a beautiful catastrophe.
Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we can hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others, in a person. I believe, rather, that it is awakened and nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history.
It’s coming like the tidal flood / beneath the lunar sway, / imperial, mysterious, / in amorous array: / Democracy is coming to the USA.
Just when I thought there was no way to stop the Japanese from steadily widening their lead over American industry, I saw a headline in the paper that said, “Japan To Open Its Doors To American Lawyers.” That ought to do it.
The Indians have never accepted human life as ordinary, as something that can be managed in a controlled or painless manner. They realize that life tests the deepest qualities within the human personality, qualities that emerge in heroic combat not merely with others but also with oneself and with the powers of the universe.
In Washington, the first thing people tell you is what their job is. In Los Angeles you learn their star sign. In Houston you’re told how rich they are. And in New York they tell you what their rent is.
The United States spends $50 billion annually on the development of defense and space technologies, but less than $2 billion on furthering our understanding of the environment. There is a perfectly straightforward reason why we have more sophisticated techniques for planting land mines in the desert than for planting corn on an erodible hillside.
Your life feels different to you, once you greet death and understand your heart’s position. You wear your life like a garment from the mission bundle-sale ever after — lightly because you realize you never paid nothing for it, cherishing because you know you won’t ever come by such a bargain again.