I know how much you grieve over those who are under your care: those you try to help and fail, those you cannot help.
Have faith in God and remember that He will is His own way and in His own time complete what we so poorly attempt.
Often we do not achieve for others the good that we intend but achieve something, something that goes on from our effort.
Good is an overflow.
Where we generously and sincerely intend it, we are engaged in a work of creation which may be mysterious even to ourselves – and because it is mysterious we may be afraid of it.
But this should not make us draw back.
God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better way; and we can only learn to love by loving.
Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love.
Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected but made perfect.
The way is always forward, never back.
Iris Murdoch (1919–1999) was a British novelist and philosopher.
Murdoch is best known for her novels about good and evil, relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious.
The Bell, Iris Murdoch‘s fourth novel, was published in 1958. It was an immediate popular and commercial success, with 30,000 copies of the British edition printed within ten weeks of its publication.
The novel was widely and positively reviewed. The Times, while remarking that Murdoch tended to „explain exhaustively rather than to indicate imaginatively“, described The Bell as „a story which is running over with purpose and intelligence“ and „a joy to read“.
In The New York Times, Gilbert Millstein described The Bell as „an addition of consistent excellence“ to her body of work. His review noted thematic parallels with Mary McCarthy‘s 1949 novel The Oasis.
Writing in Partisan Review, Irving Howe found the novel as a whole unrealistic and overly symbolic, but praised Murdoch‘s ability to write „convincingly, without rant or affectation“ about love, which he described as a „rare novelistic gift“.