One of my life’s goals is to add life to my
years. I believe we can help one
another enormously in the task of becoming and staying alive and human. Life teaches something to every one of
us, and we should share our humanity with one another much more than we do.
My list of favorite insights includes the following:
value of emotions – People with powerful
emotions may have more than their share of pain and problems. But the emotions with which we are
endowed are full of promise, waiting to become the bridge to deep human
satisfactions. Our human choice is
between the pain of loving and the pain of not loving.
role of honest humility – What a blessing
to discover that we don’t have to be as clever, intelligent, successful,
popular, athletic or as famous as we thought we had to be! Humility is not only the willingness to
be what I am. It is also the
willingness to do what I can. It is the work of a lifetime.
cultivation of a sense of wonder – At
every stage of growth we have to give up an old security and accept a new risk,
a new challenge. If we don’t we’ll
decay. We will in some way die. Why are there so many vivacious and
brilliant children and so many dull adults? The loss of the sense of wonder has something to do with
this decline into dullness. To
wonder is to recognize that you are in the presence of mystery.
necessity of delight – People who maintain
the capacity to wonder at the realities which surround them will be keeping
themselves open to the delights of being lovingly in touch with the real. Such delights, which will often be as
quiet and unnoticed as breathing or watching people won’t take all the pain and
sorrow out of our lives. But they
will make the pain and sorrow worthwhile and much more humanly tolerable and
art of self-knowledge - One of the key
quests of our lives is to discover who we are. Many pressures result when we don’t know who we are, or when
we try to become an impossible person.
primacy of love – The truest, deepest,
most important, most revealing and most astounding thing that anyone can say
about you is this: You are made to
love and to be loved. Love is your
profoundest destiny, your loftiest possibility, and your surest source of
happiness. Love is your I. D. card
and your passport to human fulfillment.
philosophy of frustration – We can read the
daily paper or our own daily heart and see that life is full of contradiction,
frustration, adversity, failure, limitation, suffering and absurdity. These ingredients are the cause of most
of the pressures we must wrestle with.
That’s why everyone needs a philosophy of pain, a philosophy of
ability to cope with the dark hours – “Do
not look back in anger,” goes a word of advice, “not forward in fear, but
around in awareness.” People
of hope, triumphing over the dark hours, live in the present linked with their
brothers and sisters, borrowing light from the past and courage from the
potential of the times ahead.
We need to keep noticing people and things in their
uniqueness if we are to stay as alive as possible to the real world.