I try to read when I have free time but lately I’ve kicked the fluffy stuff to the curb. Shits real! The other day I re-read one of the most powerful books I know, Man’s search for meaning. If you haven’t read it I highly encourage you get a copy (heck I’ll buy it for you – shoot me a note!). I’ve read this book probably 10 times and skimmed it many more. I like highlighting and annotating whatever I read. That way I can go back and skim when I have a few minutes (or months:), sorry – cancer humor. I find it comforting to understand the experiences and mindset of folks that have had it SO MUCH HARDER than I do, to understand what ingredients helped them pull through. The basic idea behind the book is that camp prisoners could roughly be broken into two groups: those that could find a larger purpose/meaning to the experience vs. those that languished in the suffering. The former tended to thrive if they made it out whereas the latter did not. There’s a common thread here with the writings of Elie Wiesel (another holocaust survivor) who found his purpose in the experience as bearing witness to evil so it never happens again,
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed….Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
This idea of finding purpose has special resonance for me today. Over the past week I’ve undergone a battery of tests, the final one is today to understand what stage this cancer is in. From there we come up with a treatment plan. I’m grateful for the people that have come before and contributed to our collective understanding, scientific and emotional. Consider these men that lost quite literally everything, including their humanity, emerging as saplings from the ashes to then impact millions with their attitude and learnings. I’m inspired and overwhelmed with gratitude.
Quick note on the title. Last night I read the classic Dr. Seuss book, Oh the places you’ll go to the kids. My favorite part is called the waiting place,
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That’s not for you!