The answer is not actually 42
Friday, February 20, 2015
Oliver Sacks is dying of cancer, and he has written a powerful essay for the NYT. It is frank, and poignant, and inspiring. These words especially spoke to me:
"I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."
There's so much beauty and truth in Sack's words. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate more the wisdom and poetry in other people's musings about the meaning of life. One of my favorite passages is from Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient":
“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves."
Each human life is truly precious; what our hearts are capable of feeling and our minds capable of communicating are truly profound. It's hard not to marvel at how humans can touch each other. Today I've had time to miss my Dad, who we lost long ago, and to worry over my ex-boss, who is battling advanced cancer, and to mourn a beloved colleague who succumbed to cancer almost a year ago. I've been thinking about the meaning of life, and Oliver Sacks' essay perfectly articulated what I hope I will feel when it is my time to look back and take stock.