“The message is simple: Love everyone. “I have to work hard to be able to keep my heart open to people whose policies I disagree with,” Ram Dass once said, in a lecture from the ‘90s. “I have a holy table with pictures on it of Buddha and Christ and Maharajji, my guru.… And I used to have Caspar Weinberger”—the secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan—“on the table, but I now have replaced him with Bob Dole. So in the morning, I say, ‘Good morning, Christ! Hello, Buddha! Good morning, Maharajji! Hello, Bob.’ And I see how far I have to go yet. Because after all, [Bob Dole] is merely God in drag, saying, I bet you won’t recognize me this way, will you? They’re all faces of the beloved.””
How prompt we are to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our bodies; how slow to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our souls!
– Henry David Thoreau
“Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.
I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”
“The day moved then into its splendid parts: a ham, fried-potatoes, scrambled-egg, breakfast in the morning air; fried fish and pan-cooked biscuits on the hind side of noon, and by the time Mama — who had never heard of Gerber’s — was grinding a piece of supper ham with her own teeth to slip into the baby’s mouth, and the Blue Gums had unveiled their incredible peach cobbler, the first stars were glittering through the blue light of Turkeyfoot Lake.
We were all there. All of us, bound by something we could not name. Cooking, honey, cooking under the stars.”
“I have often noticed that these things, which obsess me, neither bother nor impress other people even slightly. I am horribly apt to approach some innocent at a gathering, and like the ancient mariner, fix him with a wild, glitt’ring eye and say, “Do you know that in the head of the caterpillar of the ordinary goat moth there are two hundred twenty-eight separate muscles?” The poor wretch flees. I am not making chatter; I mean to change his life.”
from Pilgrim At Tinker Creek