January 2021 Touchstones Readings From the Common Bowl

January 2021 Touchstones Ministry Theme: Consolation & Desolation

January 1: “To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others.” ~ David Whyte

January 2: “She wondered whether there was a limit to desolation or whether it grew endlessly, infinitely. Desolation with a hundred faces and more, desolation of a hundred different kinds and more, like the color blue.” ~ Antonia Michaelis

January 3: “You don’t have to put your hand on [Mother] Mary’s heart to get strength and consolation and rescue, and the other things we need to get through life,” she said. “You can place it right here on your own heart. Your own heart.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd

January 4: “How desolate the landscape can be / between the regions of kindness.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye

January 5: “The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate….” ~ David Whyte

January 6: “We need to be angels for each other, to give …strength and consolation. When we …realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink.” ~ Henri Nouwen

January 7: “People who are less happy, I find, are always consoling those who are more [happy].” ~ Renata Adler

January 8: “Thus even tragedy can be accompanied by a trace of relief. The discovery that heartbreak is indeed heartbreaking consoles us about our humanity.” ~ Lionel Shriver

January 9: “This overwhelming need for help never really changes in a human life from the first day we are brought from the womb….” ~ David Whyte

January 10: “Memory, which so confounds our waking life with anticipation and regret, may well be our one earthly consolation when time slips out of joint.” ~ Keith Donohue

January 11: “The heart can get really cold if all you’ve known is winter.” ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

January 12: “Circumstances in life often take us places that we never intended to go. We visit some places of beauty, others of pain and desolation.” ~ Kristin Armstrong

January 13: “The measure of our courage is the measure of our willingness to embrace disappointment….” ~ David Whyte

January 14: “There is nothing so cruel in this world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.” ~ Haruki Murakami

January 15: “When desolation surrounded you, blessed be those who looked for you and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window in the gray wall formed around you.” ~ John O’Donohue

January 16: “To regret fully is to appreciate how high the stakes are in even the average human life.” ~ David Whyte

January 17: “Nobody can have the consolations of religion or philosophy unless …[they have] first experienced their desolations.” ~ Aldous Huxley

January 18: “Heartbreak is how we mature.” ~ David Whyte

January 19: “Simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.” ~ Mike Yankoski

January 20: “The self-esteem one acquires and a well-earned feeling of one’s strength are the only consolation in this world.” ~ Paul Gauguin

January 21: “Even among familiar faces, people often feel invisible and desolate, like an island in cold waters or a shadow apart from the crowd. Be the reason another never feels alone.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

January 22: “Despair is a difficult, beautiful necessary, a binding understanding between human beings caught in a fierce and difficult world where half of our experience is mediated by loss….” ~ David Whyte

January 23: “Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every …[one’s] virtue is best revealed in time of adversity—adversity that does not weaken …but rather shows …[who one] is.” ~ Thomas à Kempis

January 24: “There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined.” ~ Michael Cunningham

January 25: “It is normal and wise for us to rely at moments upon the insights, the courage, and the consolation which our …brothers [and sisters] can give us, knowing full well that they in turn will rely upon our gifts and strength on other critical occasions.” ~ Joshua Loth Liebman

January 26: “There are those who are awkward in the face of sorrow, fearing to say the wrong thing; to them, I say, there is no wrong in comfort, ever. A kind word, a consoling arm … these things are ever welcome.” ~ Jacqueline Carey

January 27: “We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom.” ~ Alain de Botton

January 28: “Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory.”  Laurent Binet

January 29: “No lies are more seductive than the ones we use to console ourselves.” ~ Laila Lalami

January 30: “Pain is the first proper step to real compassion; it can be a foundation for understanding all those who struggle with their existence.” ~ David Whyte

January 31: May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises; May evening find you gracious and fulfilled; May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected; May your soul calm, console, and renew you.”  ~ John O’Donohue