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Over the summer I began a Christianity and the Arts Series. This post continues along in the same vein.

Why do we love quotes? What is it about what other people have said that connects with us; that says what we wish we could say? We purchase cards for each other because they say what we wish we could say.

There are quotes that we use to motivate ourselves:
"All mankind is divided into three classes:
those that are immovable;
those that are movable,
and those that move."
Arabic proverb

There are quotes that inspire us:
"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become." C.S. Lewis

Quotes challenge us:
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." Albert Einstein

We keep quotes handy in journals, on the computer, on social media sites, in our brains, but always nearby. Those that we love the most, we write down in places for easy access.  Quotes are, in essence, the original sound bytes. They are those elements which establish for us a quick statement of hope, longing, desire or motivation.

Some people seem to go about life as though everything they say will be quoted, others behave as though nothing they say is worthy of quoting. Each of us has importance in us: items we say that others will remember. Interestingly, it is the artist and the thinker who most often provides these quotes.

There may be a hundred reasons for this fact, but most of the time, I believe, it lies around the idea that we take the time to consider life, both the beautiful and the ugliness. It is through this time - through the path we walk as we consider beauty and horror that we learn to see truths hidden in the everyday. Many of the quotes above are the results of these realities through hard-learned truths.

In the Christian community, it seems that we do everything to keep darkness at bay. This observation is also true about the greater American culture in which I live. Take a moment consider how many different ways we insulate ourselves even through the simple acts of not taking chances. While much of it is based upon good common sense, the same common sense is often a masquerade of fear.

This element of walking through the darkness, taking chances, expanding horizons, has been something I try to do, but fear overwhelms me. It's one of those elements of an introvert that sometimes troubles artists: moving out of our comfort zone. Yet, I realize that unless I take a chance I will not learn something valuable. Unless I step through the darkness, I will not grow stronger. Unless I take a chance, I will not know how much I can do. This is true whether forming a new friendship; visiting a new location; sending out a manuscript or changing bad habits.

One thing I have learned: darkness comes in many shapes and sizes; some we must flee, some we must fight, some we must endure, and some we must ignore. The challenge is learning which is which.


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