I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
The path of compassion leads to the development of insight. But it doesn't work to say, "Ready, set, go! Be compassionate!" Beginning any practice depends on intention. Intention depends on intuiting-at least a little bit-the suffering inherent in the human condition and the pain we feel, and cause, when we act out of confusion. It also depends on trusting-at least a little bit-in the possibility of a contented, satisfied mind.
A good idea if not acted upon produces terrible psychological pain. But a good idea acted upon brings enormous mental satisfaction. Got a good idea? Then do something about it. Use action to cure fear and gain confidence. Here's something to remember: Actions feed and strengthen confidence; inaction in all forms feeds fear. To fight fear, act. To increase fear--wait, put off, postpone.
Only with great care. For thousands, carols will be their only link with a church. At the same time, sentimentality is perhaps the single most dangerous feature of our Church and culture-and the sentimental air is never thicker than at Christmas. The Incarnation is messy, dirty, and resonates with the crucifixion. We need a new wave of carol writing that can gradually swill out the nonsense and catch the piercing, joy-through-pain refrains of the New Testament.
I think that, very often there's a pain that's just too painful to touch. You'll break apart. And I think her mother's death and disappearance and abandonment was something she just never could deal with. Eleanor Roosevelt, when she's really very unwell in 1936, she takes to her bed. She has a mysterious flu.