“God instructs the heart, not by ideas, but by pains and contradictions.” –De Caussade


I first encountered these words when reading Sallinger’s Franny and Zooey.  I discovered them again while re-reading old diaries. This quote comes to mind from time to time, especially when I’m confused and in pain, of course.  Whether or not you want to leave “God” in the sentence doesn’t really matter.  It could easily read, “We learn the important things, the deepest things, about ourselves and about life, not through our reasoning powers, but through the anguish we feel when we realize we hold two opposing opinions or feel one thing but believe another, opposite thing.”  We could say it like that, but it wouldn’t be as powerful.

It’s the emotional impact of feeling so very strongly about one thing and its opposite.  For example, you might believe in peace and non-violence and still feel justified in punching an “enemy.”  This is just one example of how a belief and a feeling can collide.  What do you do?  It’s at these moments that we learn about ourselves and our world view.

Have you ever found yourself trying to harmonize two very different aspects  of yourself and feeling like, “Pow! Slam! Impossible! This doesn’t work!”

What do you think?


One response »

  1. I like this, my own piece, because although it begins with the word “God” it could just as easily be understood from a completely secular point of view. I do NOT like that I might have misled people who were looking for a religious piece and were disappointed.

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