Favorite Quotes Friday: Peace Like a River

I’m not sure what I thought would happen when I started a blog. Okay, fine, I’ll admit that I hoped I would be one of those bloggers whose ideas “go viral” and get begged to quit their day jobs and write books full of their witty insights. I gave up on that a long time ago when I realized that what I wanted to write wasn’t necessarily what other people wanted to read and that I cared more about writing honestly than I did about getting people to read my blog. Fame is a lovely consequence but a terrible goal.

The real value of this blog, for me, has been in the writing process itself. Here I get to synthesize all the ideas I acquire from reading and share them with the people who care about my ideas mostly because they care about me. It is my deepest instinct to read and to write about what I read. If I have free time, it is what I want to do. It is how I’m wired. This blog gives me a place to do precisely that.

I’ve found these “Favorite Quotes Friday” posts to be the least interesting posts to other people, but they remain a favorite for me. Because I borrow most of my books from the library, it is important to me to store the most relevant bits of books I’ve read and enjoyed. I’ve actually been collecting quotes from books for years: at first in a light blue velvet journal from my friend Julie (Tarp) Huffman, and when that got mostly filled (and the tedium of handwriting all those quotes began to wear on me), I switched to a Word document. Now I’m starting to collect them here–mostly just for me, mostly just for fun. But you (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!) are welcome to read them, too. Better yet, go read the books they came from then call me so we can talk!

From Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. (I really liked John Piper’s review of this book. I feel the same way.)

*My favorite quote is in my book review on Goodreads.

“I’m sorry if you thought better of me, but the fact is I spent whole hours imagining alarming humiliations for those kids–big dumb kids, always, with effortless all-star lungs. Oh, yes, and hours spent thus were not bitter but passed like joyous dreams, in which Bethany Orchard always chanced along to see the dumb kids at their most abject. It’s true. No grudge ever had a better nurse” (78).

“A person can’t regret honesty any more than other unavoidables–a plain face or a poor history. What I regret is how I said it; like your choice of stupid punks with something to prove. I said it with belligerence, a trait ever cultivated by fools” (92).

“It is one thing to be sick of your infirmities and another to understand that the people you love most are sick of them also. You are very near then to being friendless in this world” (186).

“Could you reach deep in yourself to locate that organ containing delusions about your general size in the world–could you lay hold of this and dredge it from your chest and look it over in daylight–well, it’s no wonder people would rather not” (286).

“At that moment there was nothing–no valiant history or hopeful future–half worth my sister’s pardon. Listening to Dad’s guitar, halting yet lovely in the search for phrasing, I thought: Fair is whatever God wants to do” (294).

Let’s run, he said. It’s true both of us were wild to go on. I tell you there is no one who compels as does the master of that country–although badly as I wanted to see him, Dad must’ve wanted to more, for he shot ahead like a man who sees all that pleases him most stacked beside the finish” (303).

“Is there a single person on whom I can press belief?

No sir.

All I can do is say, Here’s how it went. Here’s what I saw.

I’ve been there and am going back.

Make of it what you will” (311).


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