I adore quotes.
They are concise bits of advice yielding a lifetime of wisdom. I do not take them lightly. I might read one hundred of them every month, either for pleasure or for a particular need, and when I read one that takes my breath away I catalogue it for future use, either for personal reflection or to share down the road. To me, a noteworthy quote is as valuable as a family photograph that I cherish and revisit often.
This week, on the hunt for a special card for a very special son of mine, I found myself sitting on a comfy couch in a favorite shop pouring over a basket of cards while surrounding Charlottesville carried on about me. I had reached the back of the shop to where I knew their unique collection of cards are displayed. I noticed a flat, wire basket on a short table that held some drab looking cards. Although uniform in size and shape, each was different. The cards were paper bag brown with no added embellishments or color other than a single black typed quote and author on one side. Two index sized cards faced upward, their messages blaring like a bullhorn in a library. I couldn’t contain myself. I don’t know for how long I was standing in that spot clutching the basket of quotes before one of the gals who worked there invited me to sit on their couch and get comfy with that basket.
“You could be here a long while,” she said to me. No shit.
After an hour perched with literary wisdom, I felt as though I’d been on vacation. I’d talked with Emily, Eleanor, Muhammad, Franklin, Dalai, and others whom I did not know but left me in a satiated haze. So much potential energy at my fingertips! It is doubtful any one of these writers, philosophers, or athletes could have known then how his or her thoughts would connect to and invigorate my soul years later. And this is the beauty I find in quotes. Their words write my life in crisp prose, bringing richer meaning I may never have noticed otherwise.
I left my sweet little shop with a bag of special cards and quotes and as I sit here admiring them I now know why these simple brown cards need no other adornments-the words are the very jewels that sparkle. One of the quotes that spoke to me and made it into my POQ (pile of quotes) was this one:
These words can be of value on any given day. Whatever you do, do it with conviction yet humility, love or tenderness. You never know who you may affect today.