Life is Precious
"Everything is a gift of the universe" - Precious
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way" - Viktor Frankl
A client emailed the other day asking if I'd write a piece for Thanksgiving, to which I replied that anything I'd imagine to say would likely be either redundant or cliché. The lessons of the season are all around us... lessons of which we are all well aware.
As I returned home from the theater last night, however, it occurred to me that while not an original thought, I might shine a light on a shared wisdom we too often forget...
...and that is how blessed we all are. Not sometimes, not occasionally. But all the time. Even in our darkest, most terrible moments.
As many of you know, the movie Precious is an agonizing tale of a young woman's journey through a hell that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. While a work of fiction, the story is an all-too-real life reflection of what goes on behind so many closed doors.
Still, it was a sense of awe rather than despair that stayed with me during and after the film. Here was a young woman determined to push forward, finding and holding to a sense of hope in spite of a complete lack of it in the lives, hearts and minds of so many around her.
There is similar inspiration in Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning", the true story of a man who found a way, against all odds, to hold fast to a sense of purpose in the worst of human trials. That meaning- hope and faith in the world and his place in it- allowed him to stay both alive and optimistic while so many perished around him in the concentration camps (including his wife and children).
While these stories are certainly inspiring, more important is the reminder of perspective. How quickly our mountains of pain become molehills when we are faced with true human suffering...
And yet, even in suffering- indeed, in every moment- we have a choice. At every turn, we can throw open the gates of our hearts, or lock them tight and throw away the key. Daily, it is up to us and us alone whether to look up and shout with all our might “YES!”, or to bow our backs and heads in a silent scream of 'no'...
For the chance to walk into another holiday season celebrating and embracing all that is and will come, saying yes to and learning from it all, I am truly grateful.