Posts tagged ‘hope’



A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don’t compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn’t know he is a hoary and venerable antique — but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby — with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.

Carl Sandburg, Remembrance Rock (1948)



If you’re gonna win, win graceful; If you’re gonna love, love faithful; If you’re gonna learn, learn by teaching; If you’re gonna fall, fall reaching.

 Chris Ward, “Fall Reaching” (1996)



The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country (2005)


close at hand

Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.

Howard Thurman, “Meditations of the Heart” (1953)



Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.

Vincent van Gogh, letter to his brother Theo (1888)



Today you graduate, and today you already know what I know: to get where you’re going, you have to be good, and to be good where you’re going, you have to be damned good. Every once in a while, you’ll succeed. Most of the time you’ll fail, and most of the time the circumstances will be well beyond your control.

Aaron Sorkin, Syracuse Commencement Address (2012)

Note: Ok, that’s all the Sorkin for a while, I promise! #sorries #guiltyface



All things seem possible in May.

Edwin Way Teale, North with the Spring (1951)



All in all, this has been a tough week, but we’ve seen the character of our country once more, and as president I’m confident that we have the courage and the resilience and the spirit to overcome these challenges, and to go forward as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

President Barack Obama, press conference after the Boston Marathon bombing supect was apprehended (2013)



Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.

Laura Ingalls Wilder,  The Long Winter (1940)



This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011)


some lucky chance

I agree with you that it is in vain to ruminate upon, or even reflect upon the authors of our present misfortune. We should rather exert ourselves, and look forward with hopes, that some lucky chance may yet turn up in our favor.

George Washington, in a letter to Robert Morris just before the Delaware crossing (1776)



Nostalgic for the past, while yearning to cast off the chains of bygone ages and step forward into the bright utopia of the future. Proud of its achievements, yet despising its own flaws.

Marie Brennan, With Fate Conspire (2011)

Note: This is a quote about London, but it struck me as pretty fitting for end-of-the-year reflections, too 🙂


the birth of Jesus

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, / ‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth. / A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, / For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

John Sullivan Dwight,  “O Holy Night,” translated from Adolphe Adam’s “Minuit, chrétiens” (1855)


leap and survive

Athletes have studied how to leap and how to survive the leap some of the time and return to the ground. They don’t always do it well. But they are our philosophers of actual moments and the body and soul in them, and of our manoeuvres in our emergencies and longings.

Harold Brodkey, “Meditations on an Athlete,” in Cape (1992)

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