"Natural gifts carry with them a ... danger. If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character as it is. "Why drag God into it?" you may ask ... Often people who have all these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognise their need for Christ at all until, one day, the natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are "rich" in this sense to enter the Kingdom. "It is very different for the nasty people - the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people, or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them.... "There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person - if virtue comes easily to you - beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God's gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible ... The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee. "But if you are a poor creature - poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels - saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion - nagged day in and day out by an inferiority comple that makes you snap at your best friends - do not dispair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wetched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrapheap and give you a new one." - CS Lewis.
"As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to an unutterable anguish. As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me. There was no getting rid of it. It was pressed upon my by every object within sight or hearing, animate or inanimate. The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm." -Frederick Douglass
Whether it's good and evil, or woman and man. Myself and other, anger and pleasure. I am thinking about the balance between the extremes, and how one may not exist without the other. Can God be good if there is no bad? Can I enjoy heaven if there was no alternative? A product brings pride when it is the fruit of great labor. A lover trembles in the arms of a long hungered touch. And the inverse confirms me. An easy capture is no game at all. A glutton for anything, food, sex, or sarcasm, will quickly find that more is needed, until all of moments are spent in it... and there can be no more. And he must resort to a deeper dispair. It is in the wanting that a thing is given value. It is in the tension of love and love lost, of touch and lonely skin, of exhausted sleep and more work to be done, for I can faintly recall days where too much sleep made me bored and crazy, of best friends and time apart, of leisure and labor the tension of a mother's desire to nest and rear to set free, of a lovers call to consume and remain herself, and of a re-born soul, for loving your neighbor as yourself requires a deep self-love, for sacrificing yourself requires something to sacrifice, and dying to yourself will only bring yourself into existence. It is in the tension that God has made Himself known. I don't know what this means, but I guess Romans 11 told me so. Who has ever given to God that he should counsel Him? Who can know the ways of the Lord. I love that I can lean on that, and the hints He has placed in every tension. that this is not home, or maybe that home is in an impossibility. - JJ.
When I look at the years of tossed together poems... I realize that I love the imagery of the ocean. It's cliche because it is true to human experience, and readily available to tell it. I should probably try to be more creative.