Thursday, January 21, 2016

'Be alive before you die'

My book club just had a discussion the other night on All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It's such a rich and complex book; and we could have talked for hours about the characters, the situation, quotes in it—and even the meaning of its title. I have read a lot of World War II books, but not many show the goodness people sometimes exhibit even during brutal war time. And this one did that.

Two of the book's characters heard a radio broadcast when they were children that concluded with this comment: "Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever." Later in the book an older woman asked a question that related to that idea: "Don't you want to be alive before you die?"

Both those quotes are filled with meaning for me. Because our lives are so busy and often so filled with stress, it's easy just to numb out and keep putting one foot in front of the other, head down, in our attempts to get it all done. And when we do that, we often miss so much that goes on in and around us. It's hard work, but it's so worth it to open our eyes and see all we can. It's so worth it to really be alive before we die—rather than sleepwalk through life.

If you don't already do it, see whether you can really be aware today. See how much more you notice. Savor even small things—the texture of your robe, the smell of your coffee, the softness of a loved one's hand, the tenderness in your grandchild's voice. " alive before you die."

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