Agatha Said, pt. 6

Happy Agatha Day! We have made it through March, although it sure seemed to last forever. I thought about skipping a quote this month, but then I remembered that Agatha had some things to say about the state of the world that are perfect for what we’re all going through right now. It’s a longer quote, but it’s absolutely worth a read.

Agatha Said:

“There is at least the dawn, I believe, of a kind of good will. We mind when we hear of earthquakes, of spectacular disasters to the human race. We want to help. That is a real achievement; which I think must lead somewhere. Not quickly — nothing happens quickly — but at any rate we can hope. I think sometimes we do not appreciate that second virtue which we mention so seldom in the trilogy — faith, hope and charity. Faith we have had, shall we say, almost too much of — faith can make you bitter, hard, unforgiving; you can abuse faith. Love we cannot but help knowing in our own hearts is the essential. But how often do we forget that there is hope as well, and that we seldom think about hope? We are ready to despair too soon, we are ready to say, ‘What’s the good of doing anything?’ Hope is the virtue we should cultivate most in this present day and age.”

Context: This paragraph follows Agatha’s musings about life after WWII. Having lived through both world wars, serving as a nursing assistant and then a pharmacy assistant in the first, and returning to work again in a pharmacy during the second, she saw a lot of tragedy and pain. To her, it seems war is pointless. What’s the purpose of winning one war if another is bound to follow? And yet, in spite of the things she has seen, she’s hopeful—hopeful that society is improving, that the future will be brighter than the past.

Why I Chose It: I think it’s a particularly insightful observation. And I agree with what Agatha says—so much attention is given to faith and love. People cling to faith and adore love, but much less consideration is given to hope. Often we look at hopeful people as being unrealistic or out of touch. But it takes great strength to be hopeful, especially in the face of tragedy. And the pain we feel for the suffering of others means we are connected, we care even though we may not know them. To feel that pain or fear and still hope—that is pure and beautiful strength. Cultivate hope, my friends. It’s more powerful than you think.

Agatha Said, pt. 1

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography

Happy November! As I mentioned last month, I’ve been enjoying Agatha Christie’s autobiography. It’s everything I wanted it to be, and more. It feels like you’re sitting across from the lady herself, having a cup of tea as she tells you about her life. The prose is lyrical; the recollections are honest. It’s half autobiography, half memoir, and complete pleasure to read.

I’m so excited to amplify the voice of this incredible author by sharing select quotes from her life story. So let’s get right to our first quote, shall we?

Agatha Said:

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

Context: This quote arrives early in the book, in a passage where Agatha is musing about what it is to know oneself, how we only know parts of ourselves and the significance of our own lives. She follows this quote with an assessment of how she plans to write the book: a little at a time, savoring the memories as they come.

Why I Chose It: It says a lot about Agatha Christie’s attitude toward life, and it’s a thought that resonates powerfully with me. Through all the ups and downs, joys and tragedies, I know that just being alive is an incredible gift.