Even a wild horse can be tamed; even metal that is difficult to work eventually goes into a mold. If you take it easy and do not stir yourself, you will never make any progress. It has been said, "It is no disgrace to have many afflictions: I would worry if there never were any afflictions."
Whoever be the instruments of any good to us, of whatever sort, we must look above them, and eye the hand and counsel of God in it, which is the first spring, and be duly thankful to God for it. And whatever evil of crosses or afflictions befalls us, we must look above the instruments of it to God.
May I strike my heart's keys clearly, and may none fail because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings. May the tears that stream down my face make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping bloom.... How we waste our afflictions!... [T]hey're really our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only a season—: they're site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.
Behold, for years and generations, the way of God has been leveled by the cross and by death. How is this with thee, that thou seest the afflictions of the way as if they were out of the way? Doest not thou wish to follow the steps of the saints? Or doest thou wish to go a way which is especially for thee, without suffering? the way unto God is a daily cross. No one can ascend unto heaven with comfort, we know where the way of comfort leads.
When we receive with an entire and perfect resignation the afflictions which God sends us they become for us favors and benefits; because conformity to the will of God is a gain far superior to all temporal advantages.
Boredom is that awful state of inaction when the very medicine ― that is, activity ― which could solve it, is seen as odious. Archery? It is too cold, and besides, the butts need re-covering; the rats have been at the straw. Music? To hear it is tedious; to compose it, too taxing. And so on. Of all the afflictions, boredom is ultimately the most unmanning. Eventually, it transforms you into a great nothing who does nothing ― a cousin to sloth and a brother to melancholy.
Your melancholy. Or depression. Along with nine-tenths of the afflictions I've studied, diagnosed, attempted to treat. Call them whatever you like, but they're just different names for loneliness. That's what lets the darkness in. That's what you have to fight.
How I will cherish you then, you grief-torn nights! Had I only received you, inconsolable sisters, on more abject knees, only buried myself with more abandon in your loosened hair. How we waste our afflictions! We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance, hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they're really our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one of the seasons of the clandestine year -- ; not only a season --: they're site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.
The portion of some is to have their afflictions by drops, now one drop and then another; but the dregs of the cup, the wine of astonishment, like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food, did the Lord prepare to be my portion.