Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fear, part II

How could I write about fear not long ago and not include the ultimate fear that most of us have, death?

In this connection, I like the following statement by George Bernard Shaw, a playwright and wit whose work I don't usually care much about. But his statement (source unknown) captures some of the peace I have come to feel about the inevitable coming of the end of my earthly life because of the optimism I strive for about life itself. I aim to live as fully in the present as I can, learning and helping others as much as I am able....

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,
for the harder I work the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no brief candle to me.
It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment;
and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.

Interestingly, this would seem to sum up the feelings, too, of Robert Louis Stevenson, whose life of suffering and triumph in spite of pain comes through so well in the biography by Ian Bell that I've been reading. He was at death's door repeatedly, traveling incessantly in an effort to be comfortable or get aid for his tuberculosis, yet when he wrote, he came alive and was able to surmount his pain, enjoy his family and surroundings and be at peace. The harder he worked, the more he truly lived because he found himself in his writing.

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