cure for a groaning world?

[Passing on this quotation from the MCC Ottawa Office newsletter]

We need to take more seriously the immense impact of our own empathy, of our own engagement – of our responsibility both to comfort those who suffer and to awaken those who suffer from too much comfort. Just as the oppressed must be made whole, so too must the complacent…The cure that a world groaning from emptiness needs most is a grassroots conspiracy of authenticity, implemented by transactions of selfless beauty,”

– Payam Akhavan, In Search of a Better World: A human rights odyssey, 333-334.

irony and vulnerability

[because I haven’t used enough quotes from literature…]

Sympathy I have failed in, stoicism I have barely passed. But I have made straight A in irony – that curse, that evasion, that armor, that way of staying safe while seeming wise. One thing I have learned hard, if indeed I have learned it now: it is a reduction of our humanity to hide from pain, our own or others’. To hide from anything. That was Marian’s text. Be open, be available, be exposed, be skinless. Skinless? Dance around in your  bones.

– Wallace Stegner, All the Little Live Things

limbs of one body

All men and women are to each other
the limbs of a single body, each of us drawn
from life’s shimmering essence, God’s perfect pearl;
and when this life we share wounds one of us,
all share the hurt as if it were our own.
You, who will not feel another’s pain,
you forfeit the right to be called human.


– Saadi Shirazi (Persian poet, 13th century – trans. by R. Newman)