Just last week I was telling a dear friend how I'd rather not exist in a world where toxic thrives. There are so much enmity plaguing this creed, how we hurt others because we think our idea of faith is supreme, how our interpretation of knowledge is above theirs, how every little whisper we turn into a howl. We forget that only He knows. Our existence are but mysteries; who are we to scar, to burn, to leave marks, to solve this enigma for others, to play God.The Friday prayer sermon just this afternoon, spoke to me in such illuminating affirmations. Knowledge, especially in faith, is akin to Light. Light binds, not divides. We seek light not out of fear of the darkness but at a promise to gain clarity. This is our intimate journey, how we move towards that Light is ours to make. Like a blind man, like moths at night, a child yearning, just do not stand in their paths, my friend. Your forehead kisses the same Earth like they do, your knees bend the same curve and each night, your spine collapses just the same. Do not be the lips that question an arm sleeved with tattoos or hair uncovered by cloth or sins not yours, instead be lips that observes silence, kindness and always, prayers for all. I hope your heart does not make space for words like Kafir, infidel, shirk and instead be a room with gardens and an ocean of calmness. Even our Beloved won't be a judge for another being; Let GodYou seek knowledge not to draw boundaries between yourself and others, you seek for this overwhelming gravity of unknowing needs you to always be finding ways to be closer to Him. You seek knowledge to know Him not to make known to others. You have every right to continue seeking, to have your palms heavenwards every night begging to be illuminated. This is your deeper conversation, go on, just you and God.
Noor Iskandar
Lotari turned back to the dance floor in time to see Stitch spin Carah before sweeping her into a low dip. Stitch grinned at Jerin and gave him a wink. Jerin's fist clenched. His face went from red to almost purple. Lotari thought he might need to intervene before this got out of hand and Jerin pulled out the sword. He glanced at Alyra. The bird was gone. The girl sat wide-eyed, her hands fumbling with something beneath the table. Ooh, oh, my. The palomino stumbled. Lotari rushed over to help. Oh, my leg. My leg! he limped, draping his arm over Carah's shoulder. Please, my dear, help me over to my friends where I can rest it a moment. Ohhh, this is tragic. I was having such fun. Oh my. Lotari stopped, realizing Stitch had suddenly switched the leg he limped on. I am sorry. You are such a marvelous dancer. Jerin, you must take her out for me. She is much too good to be another wallflower. Jumping right into the game, Lotari gave the big man a hard push. Yes, you must. Carah's gaze narrowed on Stitch with suspicious amusement. Perhaps realizing the opportunity given her, she smiled endearingly, turning the solid young man into a puddle of mush. I'll be most grateful if you could finish the song with me, Jerin. She even flipped her strawberry curls from her face. Perfect.Lotari wasn't sure, but thought Jerin said something that sounded like, Ilbebbedgladtoooo. As he led Carah to the dance floor, Stitch and Lotari clapped each other's back. Well done, Son Lotari looked toward Alyra. Pure brilliance. She was gone.
Jackie Castle
What is so rewarding about friendship? my son asked, curling his upper lip into a sour expression. Making friends takes too much time and effort and for what? I sat on the edge of his bed, understanding how it might seem simpler to go at life solo. Friendship has unique rewards, I told him. They can be unpredictable. For instance.... I couldn’t help but pause to smile crookedly at an old memory that was dear to my heart. Then I shared with my son an unforgettable incident from my younger years. True story. When I was about your age, I decided to try out for a school play. Tryouts were to begin after the last class of the day, but first I had to run home to grab a couple props for the monologue I planned to perform during tryouts. Silly me, I had left them at the house that morning. Luckily, I only lived across a long expanse of grassy field that separated the school from the nearest neighborhood. Unluckily, it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella. Determined to get what I needed, I raced home, grabbed my props and tore back across the field while my friend waited under the dry protection of the school’s wooden eaves. She watched me run in the rain, gesturing for me to go faster while calling out to hurry up or we would be late. The rain was pouring by that time which was added reason for me to move fast. I didn’t want to look like a wet rat on stage in front of dozens of fellow students. Don’t ask me why I didn’t grab an umbrella from home—teenage pride or lack of focus, I’m not sure—but the increasing rain combined with the hollering from my friend as well as my anxious nerves about trying out for the play had me running far too fast in shoes that lacked any tread. About a yard from the sidewalk where the grass was worn from foot traffic and consequently muddied from the downpour of rain, I slipped and fell on my hind end. Me, my props and my dignity slid through the mud and lay there, coated. My things were dripping with mud. I was covered in it. I felt my heart plunge and I wanted to cry. I probably would have if it hadn’t been for the wonderful thing that happened right then. My crazy friend ran over and plopped herself down in the mud beside me. She wiggled in it, making herself as much a mess as I was. Then she took my slimy hand in hers and pulled us both to our feet. We tried out for the play looking like a couple of swine escaped from a pigsty, laughing the whole time. I never did cry, thanks to my friend. So yes, my dear son, friendship has its unique rewards—priceless ones.
Richelle E. Goodrich
I am all these words, all these strangers, this dust of words, with no ground for their settling, no sky for their dispersing, coming together to say, fleeing one another to say, that I am they, all of them, those that merge, those that part, those that never meet and nothing else, yes, something else, that I am something quite different, a quite different thing, a wordless thing in an empty place, a hard shut dry cold black place, where nothing stirs, nothing speaks and that I listen and that I seek, like a caged beast born of caged beasts born of caged beasts born of caged beasts born in a cage and dead in a cage, born and then dead, born in a cage and then dead in a cage, in a word like a beast, in one of their words, like such a beast and that I seek, like such a beast, with my little strength, such a beast, with nothing of its species left but fear and fury, no, the fury is past, nothing but fear, nothing of all its due but fear centupled, fear of its shadow, no, blind from birth, of sound then, if you like, we'll have that, one must have something, it's a pity, but there it is, fear of sound, fear of sounds, the sounds of beasts, the sounds of men, sounds in the daytime and sounds at night, that's enough, fear of sounds all sounds, more or less, more or less fear, all sounds, there's only one, continuous, day and night, what is it, it's steps coming and going, it's voices speaking for a moment, it's bodies groping their way, it's the air, it's things, it's the air among the things, that's enough, that I seek, like it, no, not like it, like me, in my own way, what am I saying, after my fashion, that I seek, what do I seek now, what it is, it must be that, it can only be that, what it is, what it can be, what what can be, what I seek, no, what I hear, I hear them, now it comes back to me, they say I seek what it is I hear, I hear them, now it comes back to me, what it can possibly be and where it can possibly come from, since all is silent here and the walls thick and how I manage, without feeling an ear on me, or a head, or a body, or a soul, how I manage, to do what, how I manage, it's not clear, dear dear, you say it's not clear, something is wanting to make it clear, I'll seek, what is wanting, to make everything clear, I am always seeking something, it's tiring in the end and it's only the beginning.
Samuel Beckett
I always had trouble with the feet of Jón the First, or Pre-Jón, as I called him later. He would frequently put them in front of me in the evening and tell me to take off his socks and rub his toes, soles, heels and calves. It was quite impossible for me to love these Icelandic men's feet that were shaped like birch stumps, hard and chunky and screaming white as the wood when the bark is stripped from it. Yes and as cold and damp, too. The toes had horny nails that resembled dead buds in a frosty spring. Nor can I forget the smell, for malodorous feet were very common in the post-war years when men wore nylon socks and practically slept in their shoes. How was it possible to love these Icelandic men? Who belched at the meal table and farted constantly. After four Icelandic husbands and a whole load of casual lovers I had become a vrai connaisseur of flatulence, could describe its species and varieties in the way that a wine-taster knows his wines. The howling backfire, the load, the gas bomb and the Luftwaffe were names I used most. The coffee belch and the silencer were also well-known quantities, but the worst were the date farts, a speciality of Bæring of Westfjord. Icelandic men don’t know how to behave: they never have and never will, but they are generally good fun. At least, Icelandic women think so. They seem to come with this inner emergency box, filled with humour and irony, which they always carry around with them and can open for useful items if things get too rough and it must be a hereditary gift of the generations. Anyone who loses their way in the mountains and gets snowed in or spends the whole weekend stuck in a lift can always open this special Icelandic emergency box and get out of the situation with a good story. After wandering the world and living on the Continent I had long tired of well-behaved, fart-free gentlemen who opened the door and paid the bills but never had a story to tell and were either completely asexual or demanded skin-burning action until the morning light. Swiss watch salesmen who only knew of sechs as their wake-up hour, or hairy French apes who always required their twelve rounds of screwing after the six-course meal. I suppose I liked German men the best. They were a suitable mixture of belching northerner and cultivated southerner, of orderly westerner and crazy easterner, but in the post-war years they were of course broken men. There was little you could do with them except try to put them right first. And who had the time for that? Londoners are positive and jolly, but their famous irony struck me as mechanical and wearisome in the long run. As if that irony machine had eaten away their real essence. The French machine, on the other hand, is fuelled by seriousness alone and the Frogs can drive you beyond the limit when they get going with their philosophical noun-dropping. The Italian worships every woman like a queen until he gets her home, when she suddenly turns into a slut. The Yank is one hell of a guy who thinks big: he always wants to take you the moon. At the same time, however, he is as smug and petty as the meanest seamstress and has a fit if someone eats his peanut butter sandwich aboard the space shuttle. I found Russians interesting. In fact they were the most Icelandic of all: drank every glass to the bottom and threw themselves into any jollity, knew countless stories and never talked seriously unless at the bottom of the bottle, when they began to wail for their mother who lived a thousand miles away but came on foot to bring them their clean laundry once a month. They were completely crazy and were better athletes in bed than my dear countrymen, but in the end I had enough of all their pommel-horse routines. Nordic men are all as tactless as Icelanders. They get drunk over dinner, laugh loudly and fart, eventually start singing even in public restaurants where people have paid to escape the tumult of
Hallgrímur Helgason
{From Luther Burbank's funeral. He was loved until he revealed he was an atheist, then he began to receive death threats. He tried to amiably answer them all, leading to his death}It is impossible to estimate the wealth he has created. It has been generously given to the world. Unlike inventors, in other fields, no patent rights were given him, nor did he seek a monopoly in what he created. Had that been the case, Luther Burbank would have been perhaps the world's richest man. But the world is richer because of him. In this he found joy that no amount of money could give.And so we meet him here today, not in death, but in the only immortal life we positively know--his good deeds, his kindly, simple, life of constructive work and loving service to the whole wide world.These things cannot die. They are cumulative and the work he has done shall be as nothing to its continuation in the only immortality this brave, unselfish man ever sought, or asked to know.As great as were his contributions to the material wealth of this planet, the ages yet to come, that shall better understand him, will give first place in judging the importance of his work to what he has done for the betterment of human plants and the strength they shall gain, through his courage, to conquer the tares, the thistles and the weeds. Then no more shall we have a mythical God that smells of brimstone and fire; that confuses hate with love; a God that binds up the minds of little children, as other heathen bind up their feet--little children equally helpless to defend their precious right to think and choose and not be chained from the dawn of childhood to the dogmas of the dead.Luther Burbank will rank with the great leaders who have driven heathenish gods back into darkness, forever from this earth.In the orthodox threat of eternal punishment for sin--which he knew was often synonymous with yielding up all liberty and freedom--and in its promise of an immortality, often held out for the sacrifice of all that was dear to life, the right to think, the right to one's mind, the right to choose, he saw nothing but cowardice. He shrank from such ways of thought as a flower from the icy blasts of death. As shown by his work in life, contributing billions of wealth to humanity, with no more return than the maintenance of his own breadline, he was too humble, too unselfish, to be cajoled with dogmatic promises of rewards as a sort of heavenly bribe for righteous conduct here. He knew that the man who fearlessly stands for the right, regardless of the threat of punishment or the promise of reward, was the real man.Rather was he willing to accept eternal sleep, in returning to the elements from whence he came, for in his lexicon change was life. Here he was content to mingle as a part of the whole, as the raindrop from the sea performs its sacred service in watering the land to which it is assigned, that two blades may grow instead of one and then, its mission ended, goes back to the ocean from whence it came. With such service, with such a life as gardener to the lilies of the field, in his return to the bosoms of infinity, he has not lost himself. There he has found himself, is a part of the cosmic sea of eternal force, eternal energy. And thus he lived and always will live.Thomas Edison, who believes very much as Burbank, once discussed with me immortality. He pointed to the electric light, his invention, saying: 'There lives Tom Edison.' So Luther Burbank lives. He lives forever in the myriad fields of strengthened grain, in the new forms of fruits and flowers, plants, vines and trees and above all, the newly watered gardens of the human mind, from whence shall spring human freedom that shall drive out false and brutal gods. The gods are toppling from their thrones. They go before the laughter and the joy of the new childhood of the race, unshackled and unafraid.
Ben Lindsey