The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost

bird on one leg

In one of my feet I can feel how strong and splendid a foot is

All pessimism has a secret optimism for its object. All surrender of life, all denial of pleasure, darkness, all austerity, all desolation has for its real aim is this separation of something so that it may be poignantly and perfectly enjoyed. I feel grateful and for the slight sprain which has introduced this mysterious and fascinating division between one of my feet and the other. The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. In one of my feet I can feel how strong and splendid a foot is; in the other I can realize how very much otherwise it might have been. The moral of the thing is wholly exhilarating. This world and all our powers in it are far more awful and beautiful than we ever know until some accident reminds us. If you wish to perceive that limitless felicity, limit yourself if only for a moment. If you wish to realize how fearfully and wonderfully God’s image is made, stand on one leg. If you want to realize the splendid vision of all visible things – wink the other eye.

by G. K. Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936)
from the essay – The Advantages of Having One Leg
can be found in Tremendous Trifles
image – minds-eye

All Pessimism has a Secret Optimism for its Object

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost? Huh. Why do I feel like I want to pout? Fatalism is an uneasy fit for me – I take it too seriously.

Now, “all pessimism has a secret optimism” is more my cup-o-tea. Anyone who has used sandpaper understands looking for the rough spots. Feel that resistance and choose your grit. Check the view from the other eye.

Know when to stop.

Letting go after the grit is tricky. I have to start by psyching myself outward. In ten minutes I’ve chosen a path, but until I have left the building it is as if I’m about to embark on an expedition past the edge of a flat world, on one foot.

Remember to choose.

And know how to start.

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2 Responses to “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost”

  1. Mark William Jackson Says:

    Great quote, offers a spin, a new approach. And I believe there is an optimism in most pessimistic outlooks, only a pessimist could not see that!

  2. E. A. Able Says:

    Thanks, and thanks for stopping by.

    I hadn’t read G. K. Chesterton before doing this site. I love tracking these things down. 🙂