— Andrea Gibson
from “The Idler” by Nikaela Marie Peters:
"Far from laziness, proper idleness is the soul’s home base. Before we plan or love or decide or act or storytell, we are idle. Before we learn, we watch. Before we do, we dream. Before we play, we imagine. The idle mind is awake and unconstrained, free to slip untethered from idea to idea or meander from potential theory to potential truth. Thomas Aquinas argued that ‘it is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.’ …
I’m convinced that time spent idle makes for a healthier state of mind. We want less and are more at peace when we get it. We sleep better and work harder. Simpler things bring us joy. When we daily observe our immediate surroundings, we are more grounded in our context, more attuned to the rhythms of whatever season or place we are in. Plus, the changing shapes of clouds need our attention.”
from “Neighbors: A Blessed Burden” by Nikaela Marie Peters
"Inside our singular personalities live two opposing characters: the extrovert and the hermit. Negotiating the tension between the two is a burden, but it’s a burden that makes us human. The Internet has recently allowed us the option of resolving this tension. Online, the recluse can commune, and the extrovert can hide. The Internet seduces us, leading us to believe that we author our identities. We decide to share and determine how others will see us. We’re effectively freed from the confines of space and time. …
That’s what makes neighbors neighbors: they see each other. We don’t choose them. We can’t control how they see us. We’re blessed with the real, physical challenge of living with and beside other human beings. There’s no such thing as a digital neighbor. Online, we can make friends, but we don’t have neighbors. Neighbors are necessarily physical. And this is why they’re important. They soften our edges. They keep us human. They’re given to us instead of chosen by us; they teach us grace.”
from “A Whole Week” by Rebecca Parker Payne
"The rhythm of the week is a constant approach and recession. It pounds against our heads as we’re tugged from our beds each morning. There is this duality, this dichotomy of worlds. We see the weekdays, the hard and the frustrating, and then we see the weekend, the reprieve, the transient oasis.
We’re building lives with these days, and we can’t sustain a duality where the weekdays are bad and the weekend is the only good. For our sake, there has to be more. We lament our time, and over the years, our attitudes turn from resilience to regret, duty to obligation. In the end, our divided lives decline toward bitterness.
The truth is, wherever you are and whatever you do, work is work. It’s hard and rewarding but it does not end. So we must aim to cultivate wholeness to our days. We need to inhabit the weekdays with the same vigor and presence with which we embody the weekends—because we don’t have to stay here where we regret our weekdays. There is joy to be had on Wednesdays just as much as Saturdays, but it requires a conscious choice.”
LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
Where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
Hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is up,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
And the deeper the wells the brighter the stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley.
"The truth is, a national tradition is a wilful editor. I would later find it oppressive. But as a teenager I was both swept away and lost. I had come back to Ireland at fourteen years of age. I had studied Irish history. I had read speeches from the dock. I had tried to fuse the vivid past of my nation with the lost spaces of my childhood. I had learned the battles, the ballads, the defeats. It never occurred to me that eventually the power and insistence of a national tradition would offer me only a new way of not belonging.”
"When had poetry made that troublesome investment in separating the ordinary world—the small universe of the cup, the open door, the room—from the epic world of violence and civil struggle?"
"Can any one poet say poetry was wrong? Can a single writer challenge a collective past? My answer is simple. Not only can, but should. Poetry should be scrubbed, abraded, cleared and re-stated with the old wash stones of argument and resistance. It should happen in every working poet’s life and practice."
”’…it seemed to me that [Antonio] Machado was able to validate these very basic experiences that we all share—and that we begin to think of, in our busy lives, as marginal. But Machado brings them into the center of his experience and his poetry. And I thought, Oh, what genius that was, to take what we’ve marginalized and pull it into the center and make it what sheds light on everything else.’”