“….sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses.”

In “Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy”, we read Anne Lamott: “Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves — our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice.”

the bibliophile — Coimbatore, India

Elsewhere in the book, she writes:

Mercy means that we soften ever so slightly, so that we don’t have to condemn others for being total shits, although they may be that….As Father Ed Dowling said, sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses. When we put them on, we see the awful person, sometimes even ourselves, a bit more gently, and we are blessed in return.

During an OnBeing conversation (11th February 2021) with Krista Tippett, Alain de Botton remarks that “by “love” I mean a capacity to enter imaginatively into the minds of people with whom you don’t immediately agree, and to look for the more charitable explanations for behavior which doesn’t appeal to you and which could seem plain wrong….

We read about Sarada Ma in Swami Gambhirananda’s “Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi”: “Once a direct disciple of the Master was so offended with the conduct of a certain devotee that he requested the Mother not to allow him to get anywhere near her. But she replied, “If my son wallows in the dust or mud, it is I who have to wipe all the dirt from off his body and take him in my lap.”

Peace 🙂

Love “heals, liberates,” and “alters”

In the Prologue to “Mom and Me and Mom”, the remarkable Maya Angelou writes that she is “Frequently….asked how I got to be this way.” How did she, in the face of formidable circumstances, “get to be Maya Angelou?” — an acclaimed poet, writer, a thinker who, despite having no formal college-education, ended up with over 50 honorary degrees.

Maya tells us that she became “the woman I am because of the grandmother I loved, and the mother I came to adore.” “Their love,” she writes, “informed, educated, and liberated me.” And then we read lines that blaze from the page:

Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

In “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope”, Anne Lamott writes: “I have known hell, and I have also known love. Love was bigger.” Elsewhere in the book, she tells us: “Love is why we have hope.” 

Father Gregory Boyle writes in “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship” that “A loving heart doesn’t color your world like rose-colored glasses; it alters it.”

Peace 🙂

Be Light

In the poem “Poppies” (“New and Selected Poems: Volume One”), Mary Oliver gently asks each of us to be light:

….light

is an invitation

to happiness,

and that happiness,

when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness,

palpable and redemptive.


Swami Vivekananda says (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”): “”Be like a lily — stay in one place and expand your petals; and the bees will come of themselves.”….The power is with the silent ones, who only live and love and then withdraw their personality. They never say “me” and “mine”; they are only blessed in being instruments. Such men are….Christs and Buddhas, ever living fully identified with God, ideal existences, asking nothing, and not consciously doing anything. They are the real movers….absolutely selfless, the little personality entirely blown away, ambition non-existent. They are all principle, no personality.” 

Elsewhere he says: “Bring your own lotus to blossom: the bees will come of themselves.” 

“Lighthouse” — painting by Deepa Krishnan

In “Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life”, we read Anne Lamott: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

“We are here to learn Forgiveness”

In a piece published in Salon, Anne Lamott writes: “I really believe that earth is forgiveness school…. I think we’re here to learn forgiveness.”

In “Entries”, the book of poems by Wendell Berry, we read the writer, and environmental activist, describe his mother as someone who

foresaw the worst

that I might do,

causing me to smile now, looking back,

to see how paltry was my worst,

compared to your forgiveness of it

John Lewis, the American statesman, tells us (“Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change”) that we would do well to “release the need to hate….and the enticement of revenge.”

“Release all bitterness,” writes this remarkable Black Elder, whose skull was fractured by police (and vigilantes) during a nonviolent Civil Rights protest in 1965. “Hold only love, only peace in your heart” and live with “forgiveness and compassion”. This we must do so because “every positive thought we pass between us makes room for more light.

In “The Hiding Place”, Corrie ten Boom writes of her family who helped shelter Jews in Holland as World War II broke out, about being imprisoned with her sister, Betsie (who passed on in a concentration camp), and much more. When a state of war was declared, and German planes started attacks on Holland, Corrie writes that she and Bestie knelt to pray.

For what seems hours we prayed for our country, for the dead and the injured tonight, for the Queen. And then, incredibly, Betsie began to pray for the Germans, up there in the planes….I looked at my sister kneeling beside me in the light of burning Holland. “Oh Lord,” I whispered, “listen to Betsie, not me, because I cannot pray for those men at all.”

Every time i read this passage, i am wordless….much like when i look at the sky.

Photograph by Shreya Dutta — late evening sky, Kolkata, India

Peace 🙂