As to those in whom the will of God is not inwardly accomplished,-because there is no inward life in them, for they are altogether outward,-upon them the will of God is wrought as alone it can be; appearing at first sight bitter and ungracious, though in reality merciful and loving in the highest degree. To those who do not love God, all things must work together immediately for pain and torment, until, by means of the tribulation, they are led to salvation at last.
In some of the Israeli media, but not all, they read about very nasty things done by Israeli settlers and soldiers to Palestinian Arabs. This is a pain in the neck for many Israelis. They say: Leave us alone, what can we do about it? Or they say: Look at Syria, look at Iraq, the West Bank is paradise by comparison. I was one of the first to say, shortly after the Six-Day War, that occupation is corrupting. It corrupts the occupier and, in a different way, it corrupts the occupied.
Survival is as much a matter of grace as fight. The expression, 'grace under pressure' implies the attainment of equanimity and equilibrium. The fundamental durability of the human body surprises us because the pain can be so intense - yet pain is often transient and hides the tremendous effforts the body is engaged in to heal itself.
To be lovingly present through the primal, naked pain that marks aspects of birth, and to be lovingly present through the difficult, heart-wrenching ending that marks aspects of death is to learn about life and love. Fear may be strong but love is stronger. Learning how to love includes learning how to make room for and transform fear. Learning how to live involves learning how to die. Love alone is the most potent power illuminating the breath's journey in between these thresholds. Love is the key. Love is the dance.
"Clove!" Cato's voice is much nearer now. I can tell by the pain in it that he sees her on the ground. "You better run now, Fire Girl," says Thresh. I don't need to be told twice. I flip over and my feet dig into the hard-packed earth as I run away from Thresh and Clove and the sound of Cato's voice. Only when I reach the woods do I turn back for an instant. Thresh and both large backpacks are vanishing over the edge of the plain into the area I've never seen. Cato kneels beside Clove, spear in hand, begging her to stay with him. In a moment, he will realize it's futile; she can't be saved.
Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity.