Counseling Ministry of Charlottesville

Living with Courage

poetry & quotes

  • “Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again . . . “                                                                           ~ Antonio Machado, poet
  • Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts… It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them.           ~ Tim Keller
  • Somehow I have to trust that God is at work in me and that the way I am being moved to new inner and outer places is part of a larger movement of which I am only a very small part.
    ~ Henri Nouwen
  • “Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.”
    ~ Jonathan Mårtensson
  • “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous.”
    ~ Thomas Merton
Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
       ~ Mary Oliver
  • “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
    ~ Paul Boese
  • “Let my life flow from me like a river, with no forcing and no holding back, the way it is for children…”
    ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
  • “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
    ~ M. Scott Peck
The Avowal

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
free fall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

~ Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

  • “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to  pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Anonymous
  • “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy it can contain.”
    ~ Kahlil Gibran
  • “Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…”
    ~ Gilda Radner


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

For Maya Angelou’s life and writings see

On Prayer

As my prayer became

more attentive

and inward

I had less and
less to say.

I finally became
completely silent.

I started to listen

–which is even
further removed
from speaking.

I first thought that
praying entailed


I then learnt that

praying is hearing,

Not merely being


This is how it is,

To pray does not

mean to listen to

oneself speaking.

Prayer involves

becoming silent,

And being silent,

And waiting until

God is heard.

Sören Kierkegaard, as quoted by Joachim Berendt in The Third Ear, (Shaftsbury, England: Element Books, 1988.)

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into

the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

– Li-Young Lee