A question from the floor

I read once that the original language of the Beatitudes was not ‘blessed are…’ or ‘happy are the single-hearted, or those who work for peace, or those who struggle for justice.’ The more precise translation is ‘you’re in the right place if…”. And I like that better, because it turns out the Beatitudes is not a spirituality—it’s a geography. It tells you where to stand.

You’re in the right place if you’re over here. […] It’s about location. You really have to go out. But knowing that service is the hallway that leads to the ballroom – you don’t want service to be the end. It’s the beginning. It’s getting you to the ballroom which is the place of kinship. The place of mutuality. […] It doesn’t happen unless you break out. Fear is just fuelled by ignorance, and so you have to break out of your ignorance. You have to go to a place that frightens us. […]

Look before you leap, but leap.

This is an excerpt taken from a podcast episode from On Being – The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service and Kinship – where Krista Tippett interviews Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, a priest famous for his gang interventions in Los Angeles. The quote above constitutes a big part of his answer to a question from the floor raised by young woman: “How do you combat the fear of love and compassion?”

Listen to the full episode on the On Being website here.

Addendum: “In the end, it’s about something. It’s about kinship. It’s about [that] Oscar-winning attitude in a waitress. That you may be one. That’s the whole thing. That God has created an otherness, so that you may bump into each other.”


somewhere i have never travelled, glaldy beyond

e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose or if your wish be to close me,i and my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

You must learn him.

You must know the reason why he is silent. You must trace his weakest spots. You must write to him. You must remind him that you are there. You must know how long it takes for him to give up. You must be there to hold him when he is about to.

You must love him because many have tried and failed. And he wants to know that he is worthy to be loved, that he is worthy to be kept.

And, this is how you keep him.

(Originally from This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz. Pronouns were originally female. This speaks to my heart, regardless of what the gender of the pronoun is.)

Best way to spend a study break: heart to heart with parents. HANDS. DOWN. Mama and Dada, you are my life’s blessings.

To that special friend I’m slowly gaining more and more confidence in again: stay. After a definitive year and a half, I’ve felt that growing apart was best, just as you said it was. And we’ve evolved to be stronger individuals. And for the past month, I’ve learned we’re still daunted by being ready. By committing fully.

I’m starting to see more of us in the near future – watching more movies, discussing hope in campus politics and the rest of the Filipino constituency, if Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye should have gotten together, if Joker should die, reminiscing those we had loved and remembering those we still love but differently, and hugging more. I also see us disagreeing on what music to play out loud, on whether horror films should be on our marathon set list, and if human transmutation should have been legal. I also see us discussing the furniture we’d want when each of us start a family, but I don’t see if we’ll be starting one together. But I want to. I want to see that we’ll be standing next to each other on a cliff, our hands trembling with the vows we’ve written.

Save for the glow of certainty in your eyes and the gut feeling at the pit of my stomach, I’ve got little to keep me believing. And I don’t know if it’ll be enough to sustain me when I start working while you’re still in school, even if we do make time for each other. The inevitability of further distance fuels a hesitation I wish I didn’t have.

All I ask is this: tell me if I’m wrong. I’m not asking for a proposal. I’m not saying we should get together right now. I’m afraid and doubtful, and I know you are, too. But tell me if you’re hesitating. Tell me if you’re more conflicted than certain, more confused than confident. Tell me if you still believe in us, and how much you’re willing to fight for us. Because I’d rather you leave early than stay longer than you’re comfortable with. Hurt me with no delays, and leave the lingering memory of your arms around me to slowly disappear.