We are not the first to suffer and fail, and we will not be the last. We are not the first to also embody a measure of justice, and we will not be the last.
Sharon D. Welch (Unitarian Universalist, educator, theologian, ethicist) “Audacity, Virtuosity, and Wonder ” A People So Bold, ed. John Gibb Millspaugh
Everyone suffers, but not everyone despairs. Despair is a consequence of suffering only when affliction cuts us off from others.
Forrest Church (Unitarian Universalist, clergy, author) Love & Death: My Journey Through The Valley of The Shadow
We fear disturbance, change, fear to bring to light and talk about what is painful. Suffering often feels like failure, but it is actually the door into growth.
May Sarton (Unitarian Universalist, novelist, poet, essayist, diarist) Journal of a Solitude (1973)
Few men live long in the world without having suffered from baseness and wickedness in others.
John Quincy Adams (Unitarian, statesman, U.S. Representative, U.S. President 1825-1829)
While we overlook hours of pleasure, we are strict to mark every moment of pain. If for one night in a whole year we suffer keenly, we dwell upon it ever after, and call it long and lingering; and yet we often speak of the rapidity of the flight of time, and are astonished to think how quick the year has passed away
O. H. Tillotson, The Natural and Spiritual Bodies, The Universalist Pulpit (1858) p.149 (Universalist, minister)
We are slowly sweeping forth out of the shadows into the glory of a day brighter than has ever yet dawned upon the earth…Ignorance, want, suffering, selfishness, dissension and conflict are not the hard necessities of our being. There is something above and beyond these yet in store, for us.
Thomas Baldwin Thayer, “The Elements and Results of the Social Revolution,” Universalist Quarterly (1847) p. 271 (Universalist, theologian, Universalist Quarterly editor, minister)
All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Thomas Jefferson (Episcopalian, Unitarian, “Founding Father,” United States President 1801-1809)
Anyone who get anywhere worth going to will have encountered suffering and defeat en route…to have used seeming defeat as a stepping stone, rather than a stumbling block, is…one of the rules in the game of life.
Robert Cummins, Of One Flame: Lenten Meditations 1948 (Universalist, General Superintendent of the Universalist Church of America, minister)
When God would educate man He compels him to learn bitter lessons. He sends him to school to the necessities rather than to the graces, that, by knowing all suffering, he may know also the eternal consolation.
Celia Burleigh (Unitarian, minister)
An institution or reform movement that is not selfish, must originate in the recognition of some evil that is adding to the sum of human suffering, or diminishing the sum of happiness.
Clara Barton (Universalist, social reformer, founder of American Red Cross)