Words That Resonate

With instantaneous communication, trends and headlines can change at a moment’s notice! Yet, underlying all the e-chatter (verbal or mental chatter, for that matter) are universal experiences and enduring principles that resonate deeply. Perhaps that’s why quotes about love, kindness, empathy, forgiveness, compassion, and the like, are popular on social media. In one short phrase or a few sentences, we may see ourselves, an experience, something that feels true, or touches us.

As part of the Fetzer social media team, I look for material that explores the depth, breadth—and mysteries—of love, forgiveness and compassion across cultures, religions, experiences, and disciplines. We’re always interested in what engages, inspires or moves you. So I took a look back at some popular quotes from the past several months to see what specific themes emerged.

Loving our imperfections. This is a biggie! It’s something we all share, but is sometimes hard to practice, so Theodore Isaacs Rubin’s words are reassuring:

I must learn to love the fool in me, the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs, and cries. —Theodore Isaac Rubin

Embracing vulnerability. As imperfect beings in an imperfect world, it only makes sense that we will both cause and experience suffering. Sharing our faux pas and heartbreaks, our secrets and shame, though not easy, is what creates the intimacy and connection, explained so well in this popular quote:

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
—Brené Brown

Risking your heart. Louise Erdrich, in this passage from The Painted Drum, urges us to love despite the pain involved:

You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. —Louise Erdrich

Inviting forgiveness. Our need for love and the vulnerability it requires, coupled with the fact that we are imperfect by nature, seems to naturally lead to forgiveness. Without it, how do we find our way back to ourselves, to each other? While I know forgiveness is a personal choice, not to be dictated or required, many resonated with Paula Monroy’s take on forgiveness:

Forgiveness is an ongoing invitation to get to know humanity again. A force for swimming against the current. A profound and transformative power. A permanent invitation. —Paula Monroy

The themes reflected in these quotes are much deeper and more complicated than can be expressed in a short blog entry. At the same time, I find that a few well-chosen words help me remember that cultivating love and forgiveness is an endurance sport, not without its share of pain, but with great triumphs and great beauty along the way.

What quote or motto has most resonated with you lately?

Roselle Kovitz, a writer and public broadcasting veteran, is grateful for the opportunity to work with words for a living—especially love, forgiveness, and compassion.