Quotes from No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler:
I am a professor of history, so I know this in my bones: nothing is inevitable. History is made by people who stared, blinking, into the uncertain future. Their paths were not lit before them by sacred meteors. For most of us, this sounds like good news. We choose and choose and choose again.
Before when I was earnest and clever and ignorant, I thought, life is a series of choices. I curated my own life until, one day, I couldn’t. I had accepted the burden of limitless choices only to find that I had few to make. I was stuck in this body, this house, this life.
I feel a spark of horror each time I remember it: we come undone. This is what happens to all of us. We fall ill. We get old. We can’t have that baby or keep that relationship. We missed our chance to go to this school or take that job. Our parents die before we know them, and our kids forget our love. We lose people before we can learn to live without them.
“This will be a hard journey,” he says. “Is there anything you can set down?”
Everybody pretends that you only die once. But that’s not true. You can die to a thousand possible futures in the course of a single, stupid life.
The terrible gift of a terrible illness is that it has, in fact, taught me to live in the moment. Nothing but this day matters: the warmth of this crib, the sound of his hysterical giggling. And when I look closely at my life, I realize that I’m not just learning to seize the day. In my finite life, the mundane has begun to sparkle. The things I love—the things I should love—become clearer, brighter.
The truth of the pandemic is the truth of all suffering: that it is unjustly distributed.
We try to outsmart our limitations and our bad, bad luck, but here we are, shouting the truth into the abyss. There is no cure for being human.
These are such small decisions, really. But aren’t they all? Trying again. Getting back up. Trusting someone new. Loving extravagantly inside these numbered days.
Time really is a circle; I can see that now. We are trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain. And it takes guts to live here, in the hard space between anticipation and realization.
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