Hold your own cup

Faith, Quotes

Just yesterday, I came across this tweet by Pete Scazzero.

In the coming world, they will not ask me “Why were you not Moses?” They will ask me “Why were you not you?”

Today, the same author had another tweet.

No two lives are the same. We have to live our life, not someone else’s. We have to hold OUR OWN cup.

In the Bible, the cup often represents one’s “destiny” in life. It has been depicted to be judgement, distress (Ezekiel 23:33), God’s wrath (Jeremiah 25:15), God’s salvation (Psalm 116:13), even God himself (Psalm 16:5).

Psalm 23:5 says “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

In 1 Corinthians 10:21, it says “You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too”, where drinking from the cup seems to refer to partaking the life and nature of its owner.

Jesus was also heard praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42), asking His Father to “take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done”.

I’ve not studied this metaphor of the cup before. A little surprising, considering how commonly it is used. It will be interesting to see what I could learn from this. 

“Writers don’t make any money at all.” ― Donald Miller

On Writing, Quotes

Writers don’t make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don’t work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck’s book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man’s stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more.

Taken from Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller

Home

Poetry, Quotes

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back

you have to understand
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land

no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey

no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
until your shadow leaves you
raped then drowned
forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker
be sold
starved
shot at the border like a sick animal
be pitied
lose your name
lose your family

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

and if you survive
you are greeted on the other side with
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country
and now they want to mess ours up

how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs

maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces

i want to go home
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hungry
beg
for now forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying
leave
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Taken from Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire

The Little Match Girl

Fiction, Quotes

And now, only when she was so close to death, did she dare to take those matches out to strike them.

How quickly they burned. How soon they were gone. Just as she would be soon.

And where had all the people in her life been? Husband, son, daughter? Why had no one told her to use her matches?

She was angry at first–until she realised how she had made it impossible for anyone to have told her that. She was the one dispensing over-the-counter medicine and advice anyway. She had never listened to her husband. Nor Wolf. Nor Lee Ling. No one could have told her anything. Her anger turned against herself and she felt the pain of all those wasted years It was not all the exciting things she could have done, not the things she been doing these past weeks that she regretted not having done earlier.

But the chances to have done good, to have loved without holding something back, to have been kind to others, to have lived unafraid, to just dare–to give chances, to take them. To have been the best example of a life lived fully to her own children.

She could not even come up with someone to blame. Who had made her this way? She had never been really poor till lately. Despite her hypochondria, she had never been really sick till now. She had never known real misfortune until now. Her mother had been far more reasonable than she was, as was her father. Her husband had never refused her anything. But she had asked little of him. And her children had always been obedient. Maybe not Wolf–but even so–nothing they could not laugh at now.

Give me a chance, she pleaded. Give me a chance. But no one heard her.

They did not keep matches in the house, but had many lighters, thanks to Wolf. She flicked one on and off and looked at the liquefied gas through the transparent casing. So much left to do, to put things right with all the people who mattered to her, but not enough time to get it all done. She shuddered.

“Ma?”

She turned. It was Lee Ling. She walked up to her mother and knelt beside her, the two of them as if in prayer to the saint on the wall with the lit match in her hand.

“What’s wrong?”

The old woman turned to her daughter and put her arms around her.

“Promise me,” the old woman said.

“Yes. Anything.”

“Promise me you will never forget to live.”

Taken from Polite Fiction by Colin Cheong

“Writing is selection.” — John McPhee

On Writing, Quotes

Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out.

Taken from Writing by Omission, a piece by John McPhee in The New Yorker