If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.
I am beginning to see that all my troubles have their root in a habitual and absolute dependence upon my personal prestige, security, and romantic attachment. When these things go wrong, there is depression. Now this absolute dependence upon people and situations for emotional security is, I think, the immense and devastating fallacy that makes us miserable. This craving for such dependencies, this utter dependence upon people and situations, can only lead to conflict. Both on the surface and at depth. We are making demands on circumstances and people that are bound to fail us. The only safe and sure channel of absolute dependence is upon God himself.
Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
Progress is man's mode of existence. The general life of the human race is called Progress, the collective stride of the human race is called Progress. Progress advances; it makes the great human and terrestrial journey towards the celestial and the divine; it has its halting places where it rallies the laggard troop, it has its stations where itmeditates, in the presence of some splendid Canaan suddenly unveiled on its horizon, it has its nights when it sleeps; and it is one of the poignant anxieties of the thinker that he sees the shadow resting on the human soul, and that he gropes in darkness without being able to awakenthat slumbering Progress.
Sid Vicious began the age of participation in which everyone could be the artist. Sid proved that you don't have to play well to be the star. You can play badly, or not even at all. I endorsed that attitude. If you can't write songs, no problem - simply steal one and change it to your taste.
Breathes there a man with soul so dead that it does not glow at the thought of what the men of his blood have done and suffered to make his country what it is? There is room, plenty of room, for proper pride of land and birth. What I inveigh against is a cursed spirit of intolerance, conceived in distrust and bred in ignorance, that makes the mental attitude perennially antagonistic, even bitterly antagonistic, to everything foreign, that subordinates everywhere the race to the nation, forgetting the higher claims of human brotherhood.
As it can be maintained that all the great advances have come from men under forty, so the history of the world shows that a very large proportion of the evils may be traced to the sexagenarians, nearly all the great mistakes politically and socially, all of the worst poems, most of the bad pictures, a majority of the bad novels and not a few of the bad sermons and speeches.
It's difficult to discern the blessing in the midst of brokenness. Certain circumstances in life hurt, at times so intensely that we think we will never heal. After brokenness, we can experience God's greatest blessings. The dawn after a very dark and storm-wracked night is glorious. Joy after a period of intense mourning can be ecstatic. Brokenness is what God uses to replace our self-life with his desires and intents for us. Its end is blessing far greater than we could ever discover apart from being broken. It's spiritual maturity and joyous intimacy with God. Greater depth and power in our ministry to others. New dimensions of freedom, strength, and peace. And a wholeness that comes as God himself reassembles us into someone more closely resembling Jesus Christ.
The quest for this unwearied peace is constant and universal. Probe deeply into the teaching of Buddha, Maimonides, or a Kempis, and you will discover that they base their diverse doctrines on the foundation of a large spiritual serenity. Analyze the prayers of troubled, overborne mankind of all creeds, in every age--and their petitions come down to the irreducible common denominators of daily bread and inward peace. Grown men do not pray for vain trifles. When they lift up their hearts and voices in the valley of tears they ask for strength and courage and understanding.