The sun which warms the plant can under other conditions also wither it. The rain which nourishes the flower can under other conditions rot it. The same sun shines upon mud that shines upon wax. It hardens the mud but softens the wax. The difference is not in the sun, but in that upon which it shines. The Divine Life which shines upon a soul that loves Him, softens it into everlasting life; that same Divine Life which shines upon the slothful soul, neglectful of God, hardens it into everlasting death.
Fulton J. Sheen
I'd ask you to hang out with us, but you're not supposed to see me this way.'... 'What way?' I ask. 'Drunk?' 'Yeah... well, no.' His voice softens. 'Real, I guess.' 'I'll pretend I didn't.' 'Nice of you.' He puts his lips next to my ear and says, 'You look good, Tris.'... I laugh. 'Do me a favor and stay away from the chasm, okay?' 'Of course.' He winks at me.
The twinkle that softens the review; the martyr's super-logic and the child's intuition; the fact that a fragment of moss can pull back into the memory a whole forest - these are proofs that there is reality in the imponderable, and not only notation but connotation is a part of the proper study of mankind.
Every midwife knows that not until a mother's womb softens from the pain of labor will a way unfold and the infant find that opening to be born. Oh friend! There is treasure in your heart, it is heavy with child. Listen. All the awakened ones, like trusted midwives are saying, 'welcome this pain. It opens the dark passage of Grace.
To all who suffer- to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely- I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Long may it remain in this mixed world a question not easy of decision, which is the more beautiful evidence of the Almighty's goodness, the soft white hand formed for the ministrations of sympathy and tenderness, or the rough hard hand which the heart softens, teaches, and guides in a moment.
Every night before I go to sleep I say out loud three things that I am grateful for, all the significant, insignificant, extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life. It is s small practice and humble, and yet, I find I sleep better holding what lightens and softens my life every so briefly at the end of the day.
'Tis certain that a serious attention to the sciences and liberal arts softens and humanizes the temper, and cherishes those fine emotions in which true virtue and honor consist. It rarely, very rarely happens that a man of taste and learning is not, at least, an honest man, whatever frailties may attend him.
For all of the advice in the magazines on "How to Keep your Love Alive," the salvation of love is not the prolongation of sexual desire but the shared lifelong cultivation of a romantic lightheartedness that softens conflicts and anxieties and focuses serious attention even as it undermines seriousness as such. It's hard to fall out of love so long as you're laughing together.
Robert C. Solomon
Largely this is a class thing - writers tend to be cosseted little middle-class kiddies who think that the world owes them a royalty cheque. But just doing it - being in your room for years on end, locked in your head, alone with invented ghosts - it weakens and softens the body. And I know I can't just live in my head.
If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see - because you're not particularly invested in that particular argument - that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart.
If you don't meet resistance with resistance, it dissipates dramatically. It just softens. Try it! Next time somebody says to you, "I'm right, and you're wrong, " say, "Pfftt, you're right. You are right. You are right." And mean t. In other words, don't mock them. don't be sarcastic. "You're right." And then watch how, all the sudden, their legs almost go right out from under them. They don't have the energy to blast you, because you just took the fuel away from the fire.
International friendly games are not worth the lives of the silk worms who perish to make the pennants. They do not even have the philanthropic excuse that softens the otherwise unendurable tedium of testimonial matches. Quite simply, they are rotten games staged to pick the public's pocket, tiresome red tape left over from an era when nations and players were still insular and therefore curious about each other's potential.
I didn't know if his art was helping. But Moses's pictures were like that, glorious and terrible. Glorious because they brought memory to life, terrible for the same reason. Time softens memories, sanding down the rough edges of death. But Moses's pictures dripped with life and reminded us of our loss.
Don't let yourself forget that God's grace rewards not only those who never slip, but also those who bend and fall. So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts. It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them. Singing summons the Holy Spirit. Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord. Don't stop singing.
Hildegard of Bingen
Maybe he sees it on my face, that fraction of a second when I let my guard down, because in that moment his expression softens and his eyes go bright as flame and even though I barely see him move, suddenly he has closed the space between us and he's wrapping his warm hands over my shoulders""fingers so warm and strong I almost cry out""and saying, "Lena. I like you, okay? That's it. That's all. I like you." His voice is so low and hypnotic it reminds me of a song. I think of predators dropping silently from trees: I think of enormous cats with glowing amber eyes, just like his.
In a revolutionary age talk of equality may well have represented a passion to provide full human dignity to those who had previously been denied it by systems of political and economic domination; but in the present age it softens the spiritual requirements that are an essential ingredient in human dignity. Thus the slogans of equality serve not so much to elevate individuals to the dignity of being human as to free them from the responsibility of rising to this vocation.
Unhappy memories are persistent. They're specific, and it's the details that refuse to leave us alone. Though a happy memory may stay with you just as long as one that makes you miserable, what you remember softens over time. What you recall is simply that you were happy, not necessarily the individual moments that brought about your joy. But the memory of something painful does just the opposite. It retains its original shape, all bony fingers and pointy elbows. Every time it returns, you get a quick poke in the eye or jab in the stomach. The memory of being unhappy has the power to hurt us long after the fact. We feel the injury anew each and every time we think of it.
The abuser's mood changes are especially perplexing. He can be a different person from day to day, or even from hour to hour. At times he is aggressive and intimidating, his tone harsh, insults spewing from his mouth, ridicule dripping from him like oil from a drum. When he's in this mode, nothing she says seems to have any impact on him, except to make him even angrier. Her side of the argument counts for nothing in his eyes, and everything is her fault. He twists her words around so that she always ends up on the defensive. As so many partners of my clients have said to me, 'I just can't seem to do anything right.' At other moments, he sounds wounded and lost, hungering for love and for someone to take care of him. When this side of him emerges, he appears open and ready to heal. He seems to let down his guard, his hard exterior softens, and he may take on the quality of a hurt child, difficult and frustrating but lovable. Looking at him in this deflated state, his partner has trouble imagining that the abuser inside of him will ever be back. The beast that takes him over at other times looks completely unrelated to the tender person she now sees. Sooner or later, though, the shadow comes back over him, as if it had a life of its own. Weeks of peace may go by, but eventually she finds herself under assault once again. Then her head spins with the arduous effort of untangling the many threads of his character, until she begins to wonder whether she is the one whose head isn't quite right.
Tris!' Four calls out. Will and I exchange a look, half surprise and half apprehension. Four pulls away from the railing and walks up to me. Ahead of us, Al and Christina stop running, and Christina slides to the ground. I don't blame them for staring. There are four of us, and Four is only talking to me. 'You look different.' His words, normally crisp, are now sluggish. 'So do you, ' I say. And he does-he looks more relaxed, younger. 'What are you doing?' 'Flirting with death, ' he replies with a laugh. 'Drinking near the chasm. Probably not a good idea.' 'No, it isn't.' I'm not sure I like Four this way. There's something unsettling about it. 'Didn't know you had a tattoo, ' he says, looking at my collarbone. He sips the bottle. His breath smells thick and sharp. Like the factionless man's breath. 'Right. The crows, ' he says. He glances over his shoulder at his friends, who are carrying on without him, unlike mine. He adds, 'I'd ask you to hang out with us, but you're not supposed to see me this way.' I am tempted to ask him why he wants me to hang out with him, but I suspect the answer has something to do with the bottle in his hand. 'What way?' I ask. 'Drunk?' 'Yeah... well, no.' His voice softens. 'Real, I guess.' 'I'll pretend I didn't.' 'Nice of you.' He puts his lips next to my ear and says, 'You look good, Tris.' His words surprise me, and my heart leaps. I wish it didn't, because judging by the way his eyes slide over mine, he has no idea what he's saying. I laugh. 'Do me a favor and stay away from the chasm, okay?' 'Of course.' He winks at me.
As I feel less overwhelmed, my fear softens and begins to subside. I feel a flicker of hope, then a rolling wave of fiery rage. My body continues to shake and tremble. It is alternately icy cold and feverishly hot. A burning red fury erupts from deep within my belly: How could that stupid kid hit me in a crosswalk? Wasn't she paying attention? Damn her! A blast of shrill sirens and flashing red lights block out everything. My belly tightens, and my eyes again reach to find the woman's kind gaze. We squeeze hands, and the knot in my gut loosens. I hear my shirt ripping. I am startled and again jump to the vantage of an observer hovering above my sprawling body. I watch uniformed strangers methodically attach electrodes to my chest. The Good Samaritan paramedic reports to someone that my pulse was 170. I hear my shirt ripping even more. I see the emergency team slip a collar onto my neck and then cautiously slide me onto a board. While they strap me down, I hear some garbled radio communication. The paramedics are requesting a full trauma team. Alarm jolts me. I ask to be taken to the nearest hospital only a mile away, but they tell me that my injuries may require the major trauma center in La Jolla, some thirty miles farther. My heart sinks.
Peter A. Levine
And when spring comes to the City people notice one another in the road; notice the strangers with whom they share aisles and tables and the space where intimate garments are laundered. going in and out, in and out the same door, they handle the handle; on trolleys and park benches they settle thighs on a seat in which hundreds have done it too. Copper coins dropped in the palm have been swallowed by children and tested by gypsies, but it's still money and people smile at that. It's the time of year when the City urges contradiction most, encouraging you to buy street food when you have no appetite at all; giving you a taste for a single room occupied by you alone as well as a craving to share it with someone you passed in the street. Really there is no contradiction-rather it's a condition; the range of what an artful City can do. What can beat bricks warming up to the sun? The return of awnings. The removal of blankets from horses' backs. Tar softens under the heel and the darkness under bridges changes from gloom to cooling shade. After a light rain, when the leaves have come, tree limbs are like wet fingers playing in woolly green hair. Motor cars become black jet boxes gliding behind hoodlights weakened by mist. On sidewalks turned to satin figures move shoulder first, the crowns of their heads angled shields against the light buckshot that the raindrops are. The faces of children glimpsed at windows appear to be crying, but it is the glass pane dripping that makes it seem so.
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