164

"WORDS TO COMFORT A BEAR, WEDGED IN A GREAT TIGHTNESS."  A.A. MILNE

When I was little I read When We Were Very Young and Now, We Are Six  by A.A. Milne.  I loved the part of the story when Christopher Robin sat beside Winnie the Pooh, who was stuck in Rabbit's doorway.  Christopher Robin read books to his good friend to sustain him, and to comfort him until the difficulty was over.  Even as young child, I understood the weight and importance of words.

It is a concept that has always stayed with me.  I believe that it is essential to have something you say to yourself when things get tough because things always get tough. If you were stop by my classroom you find it covered in hand-written quotes.  The quotes are there because I want to surround my students with life-affirming and life-sustaining words.  They are hand-written because it turns out it costs a TON of money to get quotes turned into beautifully lettered posters.

Anyway, for today, I thought I'd share a few of my fav quotes:

Frodo:  "I wish the ring had never come to me.  I wish none of this had ever happened."

Gandalf:  "So say all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given."

It is from The Lord of the Rings.  I'm a nerd, remember.  Anyway, I have said this to myself so many times.  Of course when difficult things roll your way, your first instinct is to turn back, and try to reverse time.  That is impossible, of course, and Galdalf is right, you can only decide what you are going to do next.

"What's Next?" --Aaron Sorkin

I know, you are thinking, "Really? Not much of a quote."  It comes from the West Wing tv show, and it is what President Bartlett said when he was ready to move onto the next thing.  I say to myself a lot, too.  I sometimes have a lot to do, and it can feel overwhelming, but I break it down into one thing at a time, and when I finish one thing, I think "What's next."  But more than that, when I struggle my way through a difficult time, and make it to the other side, I roll up my sleeves and think, "Okay, what's next?"

"We are still alive, you and I, on this night that's never happened before.  Spread out across a giant circle, winter on one side, summer on the other, day and night the same.  And then it moves and changes.  Things are always changing."  Jamie Tworkoski (TWLOHA).

This is a quote by the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms.  I could add line after line of quotes from TWLOHA - you MUST follow them on facebook, twitter, instagram - whichever is your thing.  They send out daily reminders that you have to keep going and that you matter and that YOUR story is important.  Seriously, if you do nothing else, follow them - you will be encouraged.

"Though we are not now that strength, which in old times moved earth and heaven;               That which we are, we are.  One equal temper of heroic hearts made weak by fate and time, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."  Tennyson

I've written about this one before, but it is one of my favorites.  The poem is Ulysses (Odysseus) who has become old.  His adventures from the Odyssey are long behind him, but he is not satisfied.  He wants even still to continue on and have at least one more adventure.  I love that poem.

"For what it's worth: it's never too late, or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.  There's no time limit, stop whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.  We can make the best or the worst of it.  I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you.  I hope you feel things you've never felt before.  I hope you meet people with a different point of view.  I hope you live a life you're proud of.  If you find you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."  From The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I read the book that the movie was based on, and I gotta tell you, the movie is MUCH better in this one instance.  I was looking for this quote in the book, but it wasn't there.  The screenwriter must have written it, and it is fantastic.  I remind myself that I am never stuck - I can change everything at anytime.  I especially appreciate the fact that there AREN'T any time limits.  It seems like all around you people have deadlines about when you are supposed to do things, and if you haven't met them you are behind or it is too late.  You aren't behind.  You are moving at your pace and there is no wrongness in that.

I could add quote after quote after quote.  There are so many words that live somewhere inside me - from books, from movies, from poems, and piles and piles of them from the Bible.  Sometimes I picture myself falling backwards into a comfortable, soft bed to rest, but instead of pillows and a mattress, I am falling into a pile of soft, comforting words.  Words that will sustain me when I am wedged in a great tightness.

How about you?  What words do you tell yourself?

--Jen