A very shy guy goes into a bar and sees a beautiful woman sitting at the bar. After an hour of gathering up his courage, he finally goes over to her and asks, tentatively, “Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?”
She responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, “NO! I won’t sleep…
“Do you think I’m wonderful? she asked him one day as they leaned against the trunk of a petrified maple. No, he said. Why? Because so many girls are wonderful. I imagine hundreds of men have called their loves wonderful today, and it’s only noon. You couldn’t be something that hundreds of others are.”—Jonathan Safran Foer
“It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist.”—Danzy Senna
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
“It’s a little bit horrifying just how quickly everything can fall to crap. Sometimes it takes a huge loss to remind you of who you care about the most. Sometimes you find yourself becoming stronger as a result; wiser, better equipped to deal with the next disaster that comes along. Sometimes, but not always.”—Meredith Grey
“The human body is made of 72% pure water. This is why we feel so at ease in the sea. Our bodies call us to enter its realms, be sheltered by its refreshing hugs and smouldered by its wet kisses. Give in to the scent of salt, the scent of our souls.”—Water of life