finding beauty in a broken world-terry tempest williams (finale)

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.” (248, William Coffin)

“This is the story that lives inside me and drives my own hand across the page. It is not my wrist that bleeds, but my words. Blood. Bloodwork. Perhaps this is the act of writing, of conservation, of trying to make peace with our own contradictory nature. We love the land. We are destroying the land. We are eroding and evolving, at once.” (75)

“Words are our tools for understanding and misunderstanding. Words can ignite and incite, kill and cull, and at the same time, words can create bridges between cruelty and compassion.” (272)

“Hunger. You are hungry to understand. You are hungry to be understood. But without translation we just talk to ourselves, and no one eats.” He pauses. “How can I say this…As a translator, I see hunger on both sides. I can create a place where these two hungers can meet.” (272)

“Poverty is exposed for what it is, neglect.” (243)

“As we listen to Lily confront her own soul’s doubts with honesty and anguish, I wonder how much of her anxiety is fatigue and how much if the daily accumulation of sorrow that one cannot help but absorb as a porous being engaged with others. Her doubts begin to compound our own.” (311)

“As I listen, I realize Lily’s need to voice her disengagement last night has allowed her to fully engage today. Nothing is as it appears.” (314)

“What people do is much more important that what people say. It can be argued that sins of omission committed by priests during the genocide inspired more deaths than those by individuals who grabbed a machete and chopped their neighbors to death. The current government has accused at least twenty Catholic priests of war crimes.” (306)

“Time is intimacy. It’s that simple.” (155)

i suppose learning to separate what people say and what people do, and to adjust the weights that i apply to both of these things, is what i’ve been working on in the past couple of years. i haven’t given any real consideration to examining what i consider the injustice of not doing what you say and saying what you do as a tenet that not everyone lives by.

i had not considered that words may not be as paramount to everyone, and it’s perfectly fine to speak to someone in a way, or be spoken to in a way, and it’s not the end of the world for those other people.

words and time mean different things to different folks, and perhaps my real crime is not letting folks live as they see fit, even if it means not assigning any value to my words and time, or words and time in general.

but terry tempest williams makes a pretty strong case for my way, and i’m great-full to her for it.


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