Category Archives: The Good Fight

Death by Quoting…or Commonplaces by Living…or Something Like That


Buncha quotes from Death by Living, by N. D. Wilson (with comments in italics and parentheses by me):

A critic told me recently that she remembered scenes from one of my newer adventure novels…not as scenes from a book, but more like personal memories from her own experiences….Fiction loves to thwart the filing systems of the mind. (And the mind loves to be thwarted.) (p.18)

…[A] life well lived is always lived on a rising scale of difficulty….But the promotions come regardless of whether or not we’ve actually improved. If you are bad at being two, you will be bad at being four. If you’re bad at being four, you will be bad at being six. (pp. 42, 43) (I’m pretty sure I was bad at being two, so it’s pretty much been a disaster ever since.)

Only two men and one woman have ever lost more than Job.
Adam. Eve. Adam II. (p. 69)

Man is born to trouble. Man is born for trouble. Man is born to battle trouble. Man is born for the fight, to be forged and molded—under torch and hammer and chisel—into a sharper, finer, stronger image of God. (p. 69) (This is the quote I read before I read the book and have had taped to my bathroom mirror for several months. It’s still the money quote for me. A part of me has spent my life demanding, contrary to every shred of both theoretical and empirical data, that life be easy. I need this reminder that trouble is normal. It’s not a bug; it’s a feature. I think I would be happy with a steady stream of trouble-free From Trampoline to Tea Party stories [see p. 82], despite the fact that they’d be lousy stories. I just read this before starting this post, which nails my problem, cowardice, and shows it for the Hellworthy thing it is. But sin is one of those troubles we’re born to, resisting it is one of the fights we’re born to. Bring on the torch and hammer and chisel, Author, and get this image in better shape.)

Living is the same thing as dying. Living well is the same thing as dying for others. (p. 84) (That’s the book in a nutshell.)

Some people are given more on this earth and some are given less. Some people spend their days in pain with bodies that keep the yearning front and center, that keep loss always in the mind’s eye. Widows. Orphans. The sick. The damaged (by birth or man). Know this: God has special promises for you, and He loves bringing triumphant resolutions to those who have tasted the deepest sorrows. And this: Gratitude is liberation….See the gifts. And if they seem sparse, start counting. (pp. 109-110) (Did you catch this one—”Gratitude is liberation”? Here, let me put it another way: GRATITUDE IS LIBERATION. It’s the antidote for the cowardice, I’m pretty sure, though I haven’t worked it all out yet.)

Burden your moments with thankfulness. (p. 117)

We are authors and we are writing every second of every day….What you say and what you do in response will be done forever, never to be appealed, edited, or modified.
Of course, we try to edit. We dump lies and likes of white-out behind us. We are always explaining and attempting to recast our actions in “better light.” (pp. 164-165)

[Living] means failing and knowing that, somehow, all of our messes will still contribute, that the creative God has merely given Himself a greater challenge—drawing glory from our clumsy botching of the past. (p. 166)