People who pray for miracles usually don't get miracles. But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often find their prayers answered. Their prayers help them tap hidden reserves of faith and courage that were not available to them before.
Life is like the baseball season, where even the best team loses at least a third of its games, and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. The goal is not to win every game but to win more than you lose, and if you do that often enough, in the end you may find you have won it all.
Love is not like a buffet line where the person in front of you threatens to take too much and leave too little for you. Love is like a muscle; the more it is exercised today, the more it can be used tomorrow.
The happiest people I know are people who don't even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they are busy doing good.
But at the end, if we are brave enough to love, if we are strong enough to forgive, if we are generous enough to rejoice in another's happiness, and if we are wise enough to know that there is enough love to go around for us all, then we can achieve a fulfillment that no other living creature will ever know, we can reenter paradise.
We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don't deny it, don't be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there.
We have confused God with Santa Claus. And we believe that prayer means making a list of everything you don't have but want and trying to persuade God you deserve it. Now I'm sorry, that's not God, that's Santa Claus.
We do ourselves and others a disservice when we make old age something to be feared. Life is not a resource to be used up, so that the older we get, the less life we have left. Life is the accumulation of wisdom, love and experience of people encountered and obstacles overcome. The longer we live, the more life we possess.
When a mentally retarded child is born, the religious question we often ask is, "Why does God let this happen?" The better question to pose is to ask, "What kind of community should we be so that mental retardation isn't a barrier to the enjoyment of one's full humanity?"
When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: Ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.
Perhaps they suspected that I thought less of them because I knew it. (I'm too aware of human frailty to have let that happen. If anything, I thought more of them for wanting to face up to what they had done and for trying to change.)