Gilead Quotes

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Gilead (Gilead, #1) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
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Gilead Quotes Showing 181-210 of 304
“Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable—which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.’ There are pleasures to be found where you would never look for them. That's a bit of fatherly wisdom, but it's also the Lord's truth, and a thing I know from my own long experience.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“It is one of the best traits of good people that they love where they pity.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Sometimes now when you crawl into my lap and settle against me and I feel that light, quick strength of your body and the weightiness of your head, when you're cold from playing in the sprinkler or warm from your bath at night, and you lie in my arms and fiddle with my beard and tell me what you've been thinking about...I imagine your child self finding me in heaven and jumping into my arms and there is a great joy in the thought...Adulthood is a wonderful thing, and brief. You must be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“While you read this, I am imperishable, somehow more alive than I have ever been, in the strength of my youth, with dear ones beside me. You read the dreams of an anxious, fuddled old man, and I live in a light better than any dream of mine—not waiting for you, though, because I want your dear perishable self to live long and to love this poor perishable world...”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Now, that is probably my least favorite topic of conversation in the entire world. I have spent a great part of my life hearing that doctrine talked up and down, and no one’s understanding ever advanced one iota. I’ve seen grown men, God-fearing men, come to blows over that doctrine. The first thought that came to my mind was, Of course he would bring up predestination!”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I am in a state of categorical unbelief. I don't even believe God doesn't exist, if you see what I mean. (Jack Boughton)”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“They say an infant can’t see when it is as young as your sister was, but she opened her eyes, and she looked at me. She was such a little bit of a thing. But while I was holding her, she opened her eyes. I know she didn’t really study my face. Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was. But I know she did look right into my eyes. That is something. And I’m glad I knew it at the time, because now, in my present situation, now that I am about to leave this world, I realize there is nothing more astonishing than a human face. Boughton and I have talked about that, too. It has something to do with incarnation. You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it. Any human face is a claim on you, because you can’t help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is truest of the face of an infant.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Though I must say all this has given me a new glimpse of the ongoingness of the world. We fly forgotten as a dream, certainly, leaving the forgetful world behind us to trample and mar and misplace everything we have ever cared for. That is just the way of it, and it is remarkable.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“things are so vulnerable to the humiliations of decay.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I’ve developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from, except, of course, that some very tedious gentlemen have written books.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Thank God for them all, of course, and for that strange interval, which was most of my life, when I read out of loneliness, and when bad company was much better than no company. You can love a bad book for its haplessness or pomposity or gall, if you have that starveling appetite for things human, which I devoutly hope you never will have. “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“It is a good thing to know what it is to be poor,”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“He thought he could excuse me from my loyalty, as if it were loyalty to him, as if it were just some well-intended mistake he could correct for me, as if it were not loyalty to myself at the very least, putting the Lord to one side, so to speak, since I knew perfectly well at that time, as I had for years and years, that the Lord absolutely transcends any understanding I have of Him, which makes loyalty to Him a different thing from loyalty to whatever customs and doctrines and memories I happen to associate with Him.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“„It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.” (Gilead, p 114)”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I’d rather drop dead doing for myself than add a day to my life by acting helpless.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“That mention of Feuerbach and joy reminded me of something I saw early one morning a few years ago, as I was walking up to the church. There was a young couple strolling along half a block ahead of me. The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glistening and very wet. On some impulse, plain exuberance, I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them, and they laughed and took off running, the girl sweeping water off her hair and her dress as if she were a little bit disgusted, but she wasn’t. It was a beautiful thing to see, like something from a myth. I don’t know why I thought of that now, except perhaps because it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash. I wish I had paid more attention to it. My list of regrets may seem unusual, but who can know that they are, really. This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it. In”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I have had a certain amount of experience with skepticism and the conversation it generates, and there is an inevitable futility in it.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Our dream of life will end as dreams do end, abruptly and completely, when the sun rises, when the light comes.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
tags: death
“I was trying to remember what birds did before there were telephone wires. It would have been much harder for them to roost in the sunlight, which is a thing they clearly enjoy doing.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“The fact is, it is seldom indeed that any wrong one suffers is not thoroughly foreshadowed by wrongs one has done.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I’ve probably been boring a lot of people for a long time. Strange to find comfort in the idea. There have always been things I felt I must tell them, even if no one listened or understood.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“And there I was, trudging through the same old nowhere, day after day, always wanting to slow down, to sit down, to lie down, with my father walking on ahead, no doubt a little desperate, as he had every right to be.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“At the root of real honor is always the sense of the sacredness of the person who is its object.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“It is the sad privilege of blood relations to love him despite all.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Calvin says somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience. That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes us artists of our behavior, and the reaction of God to us might be thought of as aesthetic rather than morally judgmental in the ordinary sense. How well do we understand our role? With how much assurance do we perform it? I suppose Calvin’s God was a Frenchman, just as mine is a Middle Westerner of New England extraction. Well, we all bring such light to bear on these great matters as we can. I do like Calvin’s image, though, because it suggests how God might actually enjoy us. I believe we think about that far too little. It would be a way into understanding essential things, since presumably the world exists for God’s enjoyment, not in any simple sense, of course, but as you enjoy the being of a child even when he is in every way a thorn in your heart.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“I can’t believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of procreating and perishing that meant the whole world to us. In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don’t imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“So often I have known, right there in the pulpit, even as I read the words, how far they fell short of any hopes I had for them.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Grant me on earth what seems Thee best, Till death and Heav’n reveal the rest.   —Isaac Watts”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“People talk about how wonderful the world must seem to children, and that's true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives. That's clearer to me every day. Each morning I am like Adam waking up in Eden, amazed at the cleverness of my hands and at the brilliance pouring into my mind through my eyes.”
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead