Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.
Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.
What we can see determines what we choose. Good is the distant source of light, it is the unimaginable object of our desire. Our fallen nature knows only its name and its perfection. That is the idea which is vulgarized by existentialists and linguistic philosophers when they make good into a mere matter of personal choice. It cannot be defined, not because it is a function of our freedom, but because we do not know it.
I know how much you grieve over those who are under your care: those you try to help and fail, those you cannot help. Have faith in God and remember that He will is His own way and in His own time complete what we so poorly attempt. Often we do not achieve for others the good that we intend but achieve something, something that goes on from our effort. Good is an overflow. Where we generously and sincerely intend it, we are engaged in a work of creation which may be mysterious even to ourselves - and because it is mysterious we may be afraid of it. But this should not make us draw back. God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better way; and we can only learn to love by loving. Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected but made perfect. The way is always forward, never back.
You can't go through the looking-glass without getting cut. You know that now, don't you?
Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
Happiness. What's that? I don't know. How can one be happy when one loves a demon?
She tasted for the first time honey-sweet and dangerous happiness: dangerous because, as she before long began to learn, precarious.
Ludens felt again that special curious anguish caused by glimpses of a happiness he would have felt if only things were different — which could be different, perhaps could easily be different — but somehow maddeningly were not.
Oh Christ, if I could only have some happiness.
Happiness must exist. It can't all be made of pain. But what is happiness made of?
…we have futures. That means we can make things true…
It's just that I don't hope any more, I've lost my nerve.
But by now anything was better than hope.
There is a kind of despair involved in creation which I am sure any artist knows all about. In art, as in morality, great things go by the board because at the crucial moment we blink our eyes. When is the crucial moment? Greatness is to recognize it and be able to hold it and to extend it. But for most of us the space between 'dreaming on things to come' and 'it is too late, it is all over' is too tiny to enter. And so we let each thing go, thinking vaguely that it will always be given to us to try again. Thus works of art, and thus whole lives of men, are spoilt by blinking and moving quickly on. I often found that I had ideas for stories, but by the time I had thought them out in detail they seemed to me hardly worth writing, as if I had already 'done' them: not because they were bad, but because they already belonged to the past and I had lost interest. My thoughts were soon stale to me. Some things I ruined by starting them too soon. Others by thinking them so intensely in my head that they were over before they began. Projects would change in a second from hazy uncommitted dreams into unsalvageable ancient history. Whole novels existed only in their titles.
Dora was stunned by this information. She stopped. 'Do you mean' she said, 'that they're completely imprisoned in there?' Mrs. Marks laughed. 'Not imprisoned, my dear,' she said. 'They are there of their own free will. This is not a prison. It is on the contrary a place which it is very hard to get into, and only the strongest achieve it. Like Mary in the parable, they have chosen the better part.
There is no beyond, there is only here, the infinitely small, infinitely great and utterly demanding present.
There are eternal bonds which are made in registry offices and in churches, there are eternal bonds which are made in other and stranger and more terrible ways.
Why do I always have to be helping people . . . and getting no help myself?
I must stay with you, stay near you, do your will, or die.