I am neither of the East nor of the West, no boundaries exist within my breast.
Times like this were special. Memory builders. When something extraordinary happened to a person the kind of things remembered forever after it didn't have to be a life-changing event like a graduation or marriage or birth of a child. It more often was the small things. The sheer joy of summer sunlight on a fragrant flower. The giggle of a toddler. The brush of a lover's fingertips. And the person marks the moment with the flashing insight thinking... This is special. I should remember this
Other letters simply relate the small events that punctuate the passage of time: roses picked at dusk, the laziness of a rainy Sunday, a child crying himself to sleep. Capturing the moment, these small slices of life, these small gusts of happiness, move me more deeply than all the rest. A couple of lines or eight pages, a Middle Eastern stamp or a suburban postmark . . . I hoard all these letters like treasure. One day I hope to fasten them end to end in a half-mile streamer, to float in the wind like a banner raised to the glory of friendship. It will keep the vultures at bay.
What to say? That the end of love is a haunting. A haunting of dreams. A haunting of silence. Haunted by ghosts it is easy to become a ghost. Life ebbs. The pulse is too faint. Nothing stirs you. Some people approve of this and call it healing. It is not healing. A dead body feels no pain.
You have suffered greatly, poor mother. Oh! do not lament, you have now the portion of the elect. It is in this way that mortals become angels. It is not their fault; they do not know how to set about it otherwise. This hell from which you have come out is the first step towards Heaven. We must begin by that. -- Jean Valjean --
Of course, I quiet agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable discomfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is one thing you cannot get looking for it. If you look for the truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth-only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and the in the end, despair.