There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.
― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
“An honorable human relationship—that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’—is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.”
— Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence
“I am spending more and more time studying joy, in part because I suspect it is connected to (or one of the expressions of deep awareness of love. And in part, too, because I think we have an obligation, like an ethical obligation, to study what we love, what we want to preserve and keep with us and grow. Joy strikes me as one of the ways we know we are in the midst of such things. It's like a finger pointing to the thing, saying Take care of this!" Saying, "Sing about this!" That might be a gathering of beloveds or it might mean someone giving you directions, both of you using languages you do not speak fluently. It might mean the green birds in Barcelona, or the sound of kids' voices from some- where you are not sure of. It might mean the creek like a xylophone when all the frogs hop in. Joy strikes me (it is funny that I am inclined to say that joy strikes me; this is a good strickenness, trust me) as, like, I don't quite know how to say it, because I was going to say a kind of fabric between us, but it's more like the way the fabric itself holds together. Joy alerts us to the moments when our alienation diminishes, or, even, disappears. It reminds of us our wholeness, our togetherness - which is the truth."
Ross Gay, Originally published in THE MARGINS, from the Asian American Writer's Workshop (aaww.org)