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“We are born to love as we are born to die, and between the heartbeats of those two great mysteries lies all the tangled undergrowth of our tiny lives. There is nowhere to go but through. And so we walk on, lost, and lost again, in the mapless wilderness of love.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“One thing is certain, whatever choices we make: we will not miss out on some critical purgation by seeking treatment for depression or any other form of physical suffering. If we are ripe for what the dark night brings, God will find a way to bring the process to fruition no matter how hard we try to avoid it.”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy: A Meditation on Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul
“You don't need to retire to a cloister or the desert for years on end to experience a true dark night; you don't even have to be pursuing any particular "spiritual" path. Raising a challenged child, or caring for a failing parent for years on end, is at least as purgative as donning robes and shaving one's head; to endure a mediocre work situation for the sake of the paycheck that sustains a family demands at least as much in the way of daily surrender to years of pristine silence in a monastery. No one can know in advance how and where the night will come, and what form God's darkness will take.”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy: A Meditation on Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul
“She said, "Well, that's right, she's going to heaven very soon. And now it's time for us to say good-bye to her and tell her how much we love her."

Mary martha nodded and looked at the needlepoint in her hands.

"Will her brain still be hurt, in heaven?" she asked.

[Rebecca]....said, "Do you remember that time at the beach, when you went into the water with Gran-Gran and the waves were too big and she lifted you up over them? And you two were laughing so much and you said she was the coolest grandmother in the world?"

Mary Martha smiled. "Yes"

"That is how she will be in heaven," Rebecca said.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Upstairs
“We expect God’s presence to be thunderous, spectacular, monumental; but it is our need that is so large. The real presence slips past our demands for spectacle. It slips past our despair.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Then you pray the prayer that is the essence of every ritual: God, I have no hope. I am torn to shreds. You are my first and my last and only refuge. Don’t do daily prayers like a bird pecking, moving its head up and down. Prayer is an egg. Hatch out the total helplessness inside. —RUMI”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy
“I had learned at last to not project my darkness onto those around me;”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy
“...he smelled like somebody trying to smell like somebody else.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Today she wore a navy blue suit that deftly minimized a slight tendency to heft.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“ I don't care if you're spoiled, for God's sake! I'm spoiled. We're all spoiled, life does that. It's what you do with yourself after you realize you've been spoiled that matters. It's the life you make in the ruins. ”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Upstairs
“ Put your other goddamned sock on", she said.
Instead, he took the first sock off. They stared at each other. It was so spectacularly absurd. She could feel the corner of her mouth twitching; she was close to laughing. Rory had used to do the same sort of thing; she'd spent a decade of her life being mollified by simple existential charm. ”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“The first one to bed always lit the candle, and the last one turned out the lamp....The tradition had seen them through quite a bit by now, and Rebecca had come to love the candlelight, not only because it meant that Mike loved to see her just the way she was, which was incredibly liberating once you began to actually believe it, but also because the light just felt holy to her. It made the end of the day into a kind of prayer, whether they made love or just lay in each other's arms and chewed over the day's portion of craziness; and there was that beautiful little puff of "Amen" when they blew the candle out and settled into sleep.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Upstairs
“But deep prayer, prolonged prayer, is a terrible mirror—kneel there long enough and everything shows. There’s no way out of eventually seeing your phoniness and dishonesty.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“The depression was not incapacitating. It made it hard to take a lot of my suburban life seriously, but that was inextricably mingled with a growing consciousness of the larger brutalities of the world. Ethiopian children were starving on the evening news and genocide was mushrooming in Cambodia. Was I truly depressed or just awakening to the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, the insight that samsaric life is misery? My melancholy seemed like simple realism; if you weren't depressed, you obviously didn't know what was going on.”
Tim Farrington
“She had a fleeting sense of his God out there somewhere, like the sea itself, invisible and dangerous, a vastness wrapped in darkness, just a long fall away.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Freud put it beautifully: the aim of psychoanalysis is to help the patient let go of the delusional suffering of his neuroses and experience the misery of actual reality.”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy
“I think the best fiction is about the absolute irrepressibility of love in the face of every circumstance to the contrary. Even in someone as dark, on the face of it, as Faulkner often is, there is that unquenchable glimmer...."Grace will ever find a way." I don't think fiction has to be hokey, or end up hitting you on the head with positivity, to be life affirming. I think all we have to do is go on down to the bottom of the truth and hang out there in the dark for a bit, with nowhere to go but up, and grace will find a way.”
Tim Farrington
“She loved her daughter, the blessing of a good book, a glass of wine after the day’s wave of vanity had passed.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“ There didn't seem to be that much to say. If you loved Phoebe now, it was going to hurt you to see her. Like facing cold water, you just jumped in and swam anyway. ”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“ For the rest of the afternoon, Rebecca wandered around the house tidying up halfheartedly, feeling bereft and disoriented, trying to balance impassive mass of all the ordinary things of her life with her sense that everything had changed. Inevitably, the weightless moments with Mike began to seem unreal. All her furniture said that love was a bubble and a fluke. ”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
tags: love
“God is the nail that splits our palm to break our grip on the world.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. REINHOLD NIEBUHR”
Tim Farrington, Lizzie's War
“All she really wanted was to protect her daughter's joy in unicorns. It was like loving a soap bubble, she knew, treasuring that innocence. Yet nothing else in her life right now moved her in the least. She often thought that must be a little pathetic; surely she should have found a larger cause by now. But the larger causes of her youth had bled away. Her sense of the Big Picture had fractured and decayed. She loved her daughter, the blessing of a good book, a glass of wine after the day's wave of vanity had passed.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“I’ve got a wonderful, pathetic little life that is precious to me.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Inside this new love, die. Your way begins on the other side…. Die, and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. The speechless full moon comes out now. —RUMI”
Tim Farrington, A Hell of Mercy
“Maybe this was why monks embraced such fathomless silence: they’d glimpsed how deep grief really was and understood that to grieve properly they had to sink from sight. They’d discovered the love that lived at the bottom of grief, the love you couldn’t bring to the surface because the daylight and the bright air and the business of everyday life twisted it into something unrecognizable, something that inevitably seemed crude. She had never allowed herself to grieve wholly before, she realized now. Not”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“It was his wedding day, and then it was any day; it was nothing, and then it was forever.”
Tim Farrington
“She forgot: it was as simple as that. She just loved being with the guy. Possibly enough that not even their own wedding could screw it up.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Upstairs
“Real prayer is a disappearance, a surrender to the embrace of deepening mystery, in darkness. In that darkness, finally, God alone is. And God is infinite surprise.”
Tim Farrington, The Monk Downstairs
“Death came, in such a place, or it didn’t. That was in God’s hands.”
Tim Farrington, Lizzie's War


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Tim Farrington
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The Monk Downstairs The Monk Downstairs
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The Monk Upstairs The Monk Upstairs
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Lizzie's War Lizzie's War
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Blues for Hannah Blues for Hannah
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