Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 313-4

His view of the world is quirky and funny and, in its own way, highly sophisticated.  He is unimpressed by pretense and unmoved by convention.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking Adam doesn’t see or understand these things.  He does.  He’s just not interested in making them the foundation for his life.  Power, wealth, prestige, and influence are not his primary concerns.  I always coveted these things because I was under the illusion that they would bring my happiness; Adam goes for the happiness itself, and damn the detours.  I’ve occasionally tried living this way since Adam came along, discarding social conformity and pursuing my heart’s desires.  It is as scary as the most extreme of extreme sports, but even more exhilarating.

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Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 298

So far, this sense of knowing, which feels a lot like “remembering” something that is not past but future, has never been wrong.  I don’t think I’m unusual in having these premonitions.  It’s just that when I was expecting Adam I was lucky enough to be forced to notice them, and trust them.  Of course, no matter how many times they prove correct, I am always afraid to trust them again.  But in my more lucid moments I believe that if we pay attention, all of us occasionally bump into our own futures.

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“people like us” Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 297

I have always liked Albert Einstein’s comment that “people like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”  [my emphasis]

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Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 296

You might say that I am putting too much stock in the workings of spirit, in the will of God.  You might say that John and I were simply discovering the goodwill that had lain, all along, in the hearts of some decent human beings.  But you would be assuming that these two things are different, and that is an assumption I reject.  I have been blessed with love both human and divine, and I believe that there is no essential difference between them.  Any person who acts out of love is acting for God.  There is no way to repay such acts, except perhaps to pass them on to others.

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Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 289

… the way back to my real environment, the place where my soul was meant to exist, doesn’t lie through any set of codes I will ever find outside of myself.  I have to look inward.  I have to jettison every sorrow, every terror, every misconception, every lie that stands between my conscious mind and what I know in my heart to be true.  Instead of clutching around me all the trappings of a “good” person, a “successful” person, or even a “righteous” person, I have to be exactly what I am, and take the horrible chance that I may be rejected for it.  I can’t get home by cloaking myself in the armor of any system, social, political, or religious.  I have to strip off all that comforting armor and go on naked.

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Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, page 241

There’s a Chinese word that means “soul sister,” and that is the word I would use to address you in my heart.  Listen to me, soul sister: Fate or luck or destiny already put you through hell once.  Please don’t make it worse by condemning yourself.  There is no choice that would have left you feeling no guilt.  …  Life is hard.  We make the best choices we can.  Condemnation, whether it comes from around you or inside you, only robs the world of another dram of compassion.  God knows, we need all the compassion we can get.  If you promise to try to forgive yourself, I’ll try to forgive myself as well.  I think, in my heart of hearts, that there is nothing for either one of us to forgive.

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Expecting Adam, Martha Beck, 197

From here, ten years in the future, it seems ironically fitting that I locked myself alone, into a cramped, cold, hard, barren space near the Coop’s textbook section before I left myself feel my deep emotional reaction to Adam’s diagnosis.  For a few of my Harvard years, I taught drawing to architecture students, and during that time I became convinced that we human beings gravitate toward spaces that are metaphors for our inner lives.  {my emphasis}

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