“Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.”
I’ve just finished reading Taking Heart by A.C. Greene, one of the books I mentioned from the previous post, and it had been worthwhile.
Seeing life from a heart transplantee’s point of view is the most life changing experience I’ve ever had from reading a book. It’s an old book, published around year 1990, but the lessons from it are eternal.
Life goes on
That’s the first thing I learned from the book. No matter how much the circumstances around us makes us feel like we’re being dragged to the finish line, life just goes on. It may seem so hard to imagine a future when things aren’t going well for us, but we can’t stop the clock from ticking just because we don’t feel like going on anymore. And I quote: “Life does go on in much the same way life goes on regardless of our attempts to make it less so.”
This won’t be the first book that would remind us to value the present. Learning from past experiences is great and looking forward to a brighter future is, too. But what we only have is now. Nothing else. We can’t assume for a future neither can we deny ourselves of it, but now is important, sometimes even more important.
There is good in life
That’s pretty obvious to state but sometimes, we tend overlook the good in life. We forget to appreciate the little things that embody goodness because we feel like everything should be good for us. So if something bad happens, it takes the center stage. We should take a look at the little details of our everyday and see the good in each of them – pretty sure it will outnumber the bad.
It’s inevitable. Sounds cliché, right? But this book gave me a whole different perspective. Change happens due to circumstances but change comes from within. It’s still a choice we have to make. Maybe it’s not always a conscious decision – not the “deal or no deal” kind. Maybe you’ve changed so much before you even noticed but it’s our choices that lead us to change, whether we know it or not. “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”
Few things in life are important
I guess when you’ve been through something that’s between life and death, it’s easier to learn what to value. We’re so caught up by the things we “think” we can’t live without. Things that define us (our jobs, maybe, or other things that keep us busy). But when we’re left with no other choice, we learn that we can actually live without them. More often, we realize how much better we can be without them.
We can’t just always ask how much time we have left in this life. The question for us, is this: how much are we living the life we have? He said in the book, “There is no such thing as a short life. Life continues before and after and forever. The radiance of one candle is not lost in the glare of the noonday sun.” A meaningful life is a life that lives past its lifetime.
We all struggle in different ways (his just happened to be an extraordinary one). But all of us can learn a thing or two from all these grinding, and I think that is what’s important. Because life goes on, and the good won’t always be as good and the bad as bad as it is.