Monday, August 10, 2009

It's hardest to love the ordinary things.

All quotes from Story People

"I'm fastest," he said, "when I'm the one that gets to say go."

In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them.

Whenever she stood in line at the bank, or while waiting for the bus, I noticed her feet. The right always in front & perpendicular to the left just so. Even after 2 children, she still dreamed of being a dancer.

"They only look small," she said, "if you're someone who's fond of being bigger than everyone else."

"I don't have many vices beyond caring what other people think," she said, "but that's a big one."

In her dream, she said she was a bird who fell asleep & dreamed she was a man who wore bright colors & treated women poorly & she asked all the other birds what it could mean & they all thought it was something in the air & everyone agreed how lucky they were to be birds & not men.

He told me that the night his mother died, there were storms & far away he saw purple lightning & someone left the window open & the room filled with a swirl of butterflies & she slipped out quietly without anyone noticing & I'm sure the grief was softer because of that.

"If we all jumped up & down at the same time," I said, "I'll bet we could move the world." She nodded. "I'd throw in five bucks toward it," she said, "just to see the old man get his butt off the couch."

"I still fly a lot in my dreams," she told us, "but I try to stay close to the ground. At my age, a fall can be pretty serious."

Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I've had & I remember how little has changed about what comforts me.

Can I count on you to be there, no matter what? she said & I said no & she said what kind of friend are you? & I said the kind who won't lie to you any time you want & I think she kept me around as a curiosity after that.

"I like people until they give me reason not to," she said. "Some days they just drop like flies, though," she added.

Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.

I'm not that good at being a tourist because I'm always looking at the way the light shines in your hair or the way your dress opens to the wind & my favorite places in the world are places filled with you.

"My favorite thing is the wind," she said, "& my second favorite is chocolate but I just do that so I don't get too skinny & blow away."

"What do I get for this?" I said & the angel gave me a catalog filled with toasters & clock radios & a basketball signed by Michael Jordan & I said, "But this is just stuff" & the angel smiled at me & swallowed me in her arms. "I'm so glad you said that," she whispered to me. "I knew you still had a chance."

I'm a good jumper, he said, but I'm not so good at landing. Maybe you should stay closer to the ground then, I said & he shook his head & said the ground was the whole problem in the first place.

I have seen him in Hawaiian shirts, she said, so there is nothing hidden between us.

She said you know what heaven is like? & I said I wasn't sure & she laughed & said grown-ups didn't know much at all about important stuff & I said I had to agree with her even though I was one of them myself.

I was never good at hide & seek because I'd always make enough noise so my friends would be sure to find me. I don't have anyone to play those games with any more, but now & then I make enough noise just in case someone is still looking & hasn't found me yet.

There are 7 levels of hell, she said, & I think one of them is reserved for people who bring jello salads to every potluck they go to.

She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went. It's easier to feel the sunlight without them, she said.

They left me with your shadow, saying things like Life is not fair & I believed them for a long time. But today, I remembered the way you laughed & the heat of your hand in mine & I knew that life is more fair than we can ever imagine if we are there to live it.

She kept asking if the stories were true. I kept asking her if it mattered. We finally gave up. She was looking for a place to stand & I wanted a place to fly.

This is a wheelbarrow I filled with all my dreams & my favorite clothes & now all I need is someone to help me push it.

There came a moment in the middle of the song when she suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room & after that she never forgot she was part of something much bigger.

"It's hardest to love the ordinary things," she said, "but you get lots of opportunities to practice."

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