She doesn’t make speeches anymore. She has become speechless. She stays in her home, but it doesn’t seem to agree with her. How furious she must be, now that she’s been taken at her word.
She’s looking at the tulips. Her cane is beside her, on the grass. Her profile is towards me, I can see that in the quick sideways look I take at her as I go past. It wouldn’t do to stare. It’s no longer a flawless cut-paper profile, her face is sinking in upon itself, and I think of those towns built on underground rivers, where houses and whole streets disappear overnight, into sudden quagmires, or coal towns collapsing into the mines beneath them. Something like this must have happened to her, once she saw the true shape of things to come.–The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The following quote marks a turning point in the author’s life story. This is followed by multiple extremely difficult circumstances beyond her control, exacerbated by a litany of her own seriously bad choices. All of this ultimately leads her to the PCT and the beginning of the journey detailed in this book. While this is not a spiritual journey per se. there are moments (here and there) that can only be described as deeply spiritual – most are the good kind, but they begin with this.
It was the same when I tried to pray. I prayed fervently, rabidly, to God, any god, to a god I could not identify or find. I cursed my mother, who’d not given me any religious education. Resentful of her own repressive Catholic upbringing, she’d avoided church altogether in her adult life, and now she was dying and I didn’t even have God. I prayed to the whole wide universe and hoped that God would be in it, listening to me. I prayed and prayed, and then I faltered. Not because I couldn’t find God, but because suddenly I absolutely did: God was there, I realized, and God had no intention of making things happen or not, of saving my mother’s life.
God was not a granter of wishes. God was a ruthless bitch.
–Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
- Pacific Crest Trail (PCT): Website and Twitter
I’ve never been able to explain the phenomenon of adults loving Santa, but I have a theory that seeing me jogs happy memories. I think a lot of us wish we could be children again, becoming breathless with Christmas excitement and believing with all our hearts that wishes can come true. I know I do! I think every grown-up wants to recapture that sense of wonder, even for a moment. And that’s exactly what Santa Claus allows them to do.
“Damn. Up till that moment, the romantic part of me still had been hoping I was wrong. Your romantic parts can be really dumb.”
–The White Magic Five & Dime by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco
“I think that for both children and parents, Santa Claus represents a welcome distraction from the harsher realities of life that many of us have to deal with. Children can tell Santa Claus their hopes and dreams the same way they might wish upon a star. And most parents wouldn’t ever want to dash those dreams or put limits on their children’s innocent optimism. Even in tough economic times—perhaps especially then—Christmas and Santa Claus represent a shining ray of hope. Sure, Santa might not give a child everything he or she wants, and honestly, I don’t think that many children truly expect that. To their little minds, though, it can’t hurt to at least ask, right?”
Cinderella At the Grave
“I’ve been good and I’ve been kind, Mother,
Doing only what I learned from you.
Why, then, am I left behind, Mother,
Is there something more that I should do?”
“Are you certain what you wish is what you want?”