Quotes for a Freethinker

At some point during my late teens, I started collecting quotes– quotes from books, greeting cards, presentations, songs, everywhere and anywhere. I’d write them on scraps of paper and place them in a box, not sure what to do with them. Sometime in my late 20s or so, I re-wrote or glued them into a notebook. I kept adding quotes when I’d come across something I liked, and when that notebook was full, I started another one. From time to time, I’d refer to them when I encountered some situation and needed direction, or just wanted to be inspired or comforted.
It’s been interesting, looking through through the books now. Somewhere along the way, around age 26, I began to transition away from the faith of my growing-up years. I began to question Christianity. My relationship with God drifted apart, faded, became a foreign concept. I stopped listening to most of the music. I put away the God books. I re-evaluated many things in my world.
Looking through those notebooks a couple years ago, I realized that a lot of the quotes no longer hold much meaning for me anymore. They don’t make sense. I don’t grasp them so firmly anymore.  Some of the quotes are still in the books, because they’re written in pen or they’re glued in there; others, I’ve un-taped or erased. The empty spaces remind me of how life has moved on, and I feel a bit sad or nostalgic, but also liberated, unencumbered, light. I think it’s interesting how we see things through different eyes as we grow older.
Here are some of my favourites. Some are recent additions to the notebooks, and some of them I’ve had for ten or twelve years. Enjoy!
Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own. Bertrand Russell
I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than a world so small that my mind could comprehend it. Harry Emerson Fosdick
Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love the truth. Joseph Joubert
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ball and chain of old wounds tethers us to the past and limits our ability to move forward with vitality. Ira Byock
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Albert Einstein
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can. Sydney Smith
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw
Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day absorb all your interest, energy and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well. William Osler