And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don't just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn't do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr.
that, to repeat what I heard for years and years and suspect you've been hearing over and over, yourself, something's meaning is nothing more or less than its function. Et cetera et cetera et cetera. Has she done the thing with the broom with you? No? What does she use now? No. What she did with me-I must have been eight, or twelve, who remembers-was to sit me down in the kitchen and take a straw broom and start furiously sweeping the floor, and she asked me which part of the broom was more elemental, more fundamental, in my opinion, the bristles or the handle. The bristles or the handle. And I hemmed and hawed, and she swept more and more violently, and I got nervous, and finally when I said I supposed the bristles, because you could after a fashion sweep without the handle, by just holding on to the bristles, but couldn't sweep with just the handle, she tackled me, and knocked me out of my chair, and yelled into my ear something like, 'Aha, that's because you want to sweep with the broom, isn't it? It's because of what you want the broom for, isn't it?' Et cetera. And that if what we wanted a broom for was to break windows, then the handle was clearly the fundamental essence of the broom, and she illustrated with the kitchen window, and a crowd of the domestics gathered; but that if we wanted the broom to sweep with, see for example the broken glass, sweep sweep, the bristles were the thing's essence. No? What now, then? With pencils? No matter. Meaning as fundamentalness. Fundamentalness as use. Meaning as use. Meaning as fundamentalness.
David Foster Wallace
The truth is that cleaning up socks and trying to get someone to really listen to you is marriage. It's less sweep you off your feet and more sweep the kitchen four times a day. Like everything good in life, it's 98% back-breaking work and 2% moments that make the work worthwhile.
Glennon Doyle Melton
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King
Selfishness is the most constant of human motives. Patriotism, humanity, or the love of God may lead to sporadic outbursts sweep away the heaped-up wrongs of centuries; but they languish at times, while the love of self works on ceaselessly, unwearyingly,burrowing always at the very root of life, and heaping up fresh wrongs for other centuries to sweep away.
Charles W. Chesnutt
What fun it is to generalize in the privacy of a note book. It is as I imagine waltzing on ice might be. A great delicious sweep in one direction, taking you your full strength, and then with no trouble at all, an equally delicious sweep in the opposite direction. My note book does not help me think, but it eases my crabbed heart.
I heard you're campaigning on my behalf." He walked over to me. "That wouldn't be because you'd miss me too much if I were gone,would it?" "Don't be absurd," I scoffed. "I don't condone murder, even for people like you." "People like me,huh?" He cocked an eyebrow. "You mean devilishly handsome, debonair young men who come to sweep rebellious princesses of their feet?" "You came to kidnap me, not sweep me off my feet," I said,but he waved his hand at the idea. "Semantics.
If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some Heavenly blessings...
Henry Ward Beecher
Night is the worst time. After the long regimentation of the day, the enforced silences, the men want to talk. At first it doesn't matter what about: TV, movies, travel, jobs. I lie on my side on my mattress as the words pool around me, reciting to myself the botanical classifications for peach, cherry, apple. Magnoliophyta, Magnoliopsida, Rosales, Rosaceae... I smell the smell of other bodies: stale skin, flatulence, cologne. I long to open the windows and let the fresh air sweep the smells away, sweep the bodies away too. Gradually one man drops out of the conversation, then another. Soon there will be only two men left speaking. And these two-they are not the same two every night-will drop their voices, speak in an intimate murmur. Perhaps they are only gossiping about one of the monks. Perhaps they are complaining about the food. But no, there is a reticence that lets me know that they are trying, clumsily, to reach each other.