I despair at the rise of modern violence. I truly give in to despair at times, that deep, futureless pit of despair.... I watch the American slaughterhouse, the casual attacks on popes, presidents, and uncounted others, and I wonder if there are many more out there with the Ability or if butchery has simply become the modern way of life.
Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.
But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float towards his end. He sees it quite clearly, and it fills him with (the word will not go away) despair. The blood of life is leaving his body and despair is taking its place, despair that is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.
Hope is a terrible thing, she said. Is it? Yes, it keep you living in another place, a place which doesn't exist. For some people it's better than where they are. For many it's a relief. From life, she said. A relief from life? Is that living? Some people don't have a choice. No and that's awful for them. Hope is better than misery, he said. Or despair. Hope belongs in the same box as despair. Hope is not so bad, he said. At least despair has truth to it.
Jas in the Arab language is despair, And Min the darkest meaning of a lie. Thus cried the Jessamine among the flowers, How justly doth a lie Draw on its head despair! Among the fragrant spirits of the bowers The boldest and the strongest still was I. Although so fair, Therefore from Heaven A stronger perfume unto me was given Than any blossom of the summer hours.
What moments of despair that life would ever be made precious to me by the consciousness that I lived to some good purpose! It was that sort of despair that sucked away the sap of half the hours which might have been filled by energetic youthful activity: and the same demon tries to get hold of me again whenever an old work is dismissed and a new one is being meditated.
If thy faith have no doubts, thou has just cause to doubt thy faith; and if thy doubts have no hope, thou hast just reason to fear despair; when therefore thy doubts shall exercise thy faith, keep thy hopes firm to qualify thy doubts; so shall thy faith be secured from doubts; so shall thy doubts be preserved from despair.